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An Unidentified Amino-sugar present in Cell Walls and Spores of Various Bacteria

Abstract

A SUBSTANCE reacting as a hexosamine but which is not glucosamine or galactosamine has been found in 6 N hydrochloric acid hydrolysates of a variety of bacterial cell walls by Cummins and Harris1 and in peptides isolated from spores of Bacillus megatherium, B. subtilis and B. cereus by Strange and Powell2. There is evidence that in all cases the same substance is involved, and recently in this laboratory a similar compound was isolated from acid hydrolysates of cells of Micrococcus lysodeikticus in sufficient quantity for comparison with that from spore peptide, which showed that it was identical in a number of properties. The amino-sugar would therefore seem to be widely distributed in bacteria. The base has now been obtained in crystalline form from acid hydrolysates of spore peptide (Fig. 1) by the use of ion-exchange resins. Investigation of the crystalline compound has shown that it is not a simple hexosamine ; for example, after treatment with ninhydrin according to the method of Stoffyn and Jeanloz3, followed by paper chromatography, a spot was obtained which reacted with aniline phthalate4 and other sugar spray reagents like a pentose but which had an R F value considerably lower than that of arabinose, lyxose, xylose or ribose. This product reduced ammoniacal silver nitrate but did not react with naphtho-resorcinol–trichloracetic acid5.

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References

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STRANGE, R., DARK, F. An Unidentified Amino-sugar present in Cell Walls and Spores of Various Bacteria. Nature 177, 186–188 (1956). https://doi.org/10.1038/177186a0

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