Lipid on capsular polysaccharides of gram-negative bacteria

J Biol Chem. 1981 Sep 10;256(17):8915-21.


Hydrolysis of the meningococcal group A, B, and C, and Escherichia coli K92 polysaccharides by 60% aqueous hydrofluoric acid liberated various 1,2-diacylglycerols. These were extracted with chloroform, trimethylsilylated, and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Two 1,2-diacylglycerols were the major components isolated. In each polysaccharide, 80 to 90% dipalmitoyl glycerol and 10 to 20% distearoyl glycerol were identified. No monoacylglycerols or mixed diacylglycerols were noted. The presence of the hydrophobic end causes the polysaccharides to aggregate in a micellar form and may be the entity by which the polysaccharide remains attached to the outer membrane of the bacterium giving rise to the structure recognized as a capsule.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Diglycerides / analysis*
  • Escherichia coli / analysis*
  • Glycerides / analysis*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / analysis*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / analysis*


  • Diglycerides
  • Glycerides
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial