Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Several major invasive bacterial pathogens are encapsulated. Expression of a polysaccharide capsule is essential for survival in the blood, and thus for virulence, but also is a target for host antibodies and the basis for effective vaccines. Encapsulated species typically exhibit antigenic variation and express one of a number of immunochemically distinct capsular polysaccharides that define serotypes. We provide the sequences of the capsular biosynthetic genes of all 90 serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae and relate these to the known polysaccharide structures and patterns of immunological reactivity of typing sera, thereby providing the most complete understanding of the genetics and origins of bacterial polysaccharide diversity, laying the foundations for molecular serotyping. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a complete repertoire of capsular biosynthetic genes has been available, enabling a holistic analysis of a bacterial polysaccharide biosynthesis system. Remarkably, the total size of alternative coding DNA at this one locus exceeds 1.8 Mbp, almost equivalent to the entire S. pneumoniae chromosomal complement.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pgen.0020031

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS genetics

Publication Date

10/03/2006

Volume

2

Addresses

Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, United Kingdom. sdb@sanger.ac.uk

Keywords

Streptococcus pneumoniae, Polysaccharides, Polysaccharides, Bacterial, Bacterial Capsules, Serotyping, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Computational Biology, Genes, Bacterial