Letter | Published:

N-Acetylmannosamine Digestion by Human Oral Bacteria

Naturevolume 207page979 (1965) | Download Citation



LEACH1 showed that N-acetylneuraminic acid was rapidly metabolized by human saliva and ascribed this to the presence of an inducible aldolase produced by contaminating micro-organisms since such destruction was prevented by the addition of ‘Ledermycin’ or by heating the saliva in boiling water. This appears to be the second step in a process whereby salivary mucoproteins having N-acetylneuraminic acid residues as their non-reducing end groups act as inducer molecules to oral bacteria, producing first a neuraminidase and later an aldolase which cleaves the N-acetylneuraminic acid liberated by the neuraminidase into N-acetylmannosamine and pyruvic acid. Such a sequence has been found by us2 to occur when (α1-glycoprotein, which is present in sputum, is used as an inducer molecule in cultures of Klebsiella aerogenes. We wish to report on the third step whereby N-acetylmannosamine itself is digested.

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  1. 1

    Leach, S. A., Nature, 199, 486 (1963).

  2. 2

    Barker, S. A., Pardoe Grace, I., and Stacey, M., Protides of the Biological Fluids, 11, 284 (1963).

  3. 3

    Aminoff, D., Morgan, W. T. J., and Watkins, W. M., Biochem. J., 51, 379 (1952).

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  1. Department of Chemistry, University of Birmingham

    • S. M. AMIR
    • , S. A. BARKER
    •  & S. A. WOODBURY


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