Strain variation in composition and molecular size of the capsular polysaccharide of Cryptococcus neoformans serotype A.
The capsule of Cryptococcus neoformans is an important virulence factor. In this investigation capsular polysaccharides (CPSs) were isolated by ethanol precipitation from culture filtrates of C. neoformans serotype A strains 6, 15, 98, 110, and 145. Capsule sizes on India ink examination ranged from barely perceptible (strain 15) to greater than the diameter of the yeast cell (strain 6); the others were intermediate in size. On ion-exchange chromatography on DEAE-cellulose each CPS eluted at 0.2 M NaCl; CPS of strain 15 had two major peaks, designated III and IV. On gel-permeation chromatography CPSs of strains 6, 98, 110, and 145 eluted at the void volume of Sepharose CL-2B in the presence or 0.1 M EDTA, while the CPS of strain 15 eluted in two peaks. Sephacryl S-1000 resolved CPSs of all five strains in the following order, from largest to smallest molecular size: 145 greater than 110 greater than 98 greater than 6 much greater than 15. All five CPSs contained mannose, xylose, and glucuronic acid, while the carboxyl-reduced CPS of strain 110 also contained a large percentage of an inositol-like compound. The CPS of strain 110 contained approximately 30% uronic acid by weight, while the others had 15 to 20%. The composition of peak IV from the CPS of strain 15 resembled those of the other strains; peak III of strain 15 contained a substantial amount of galactose. Each CPS contained less than 0.2% protein by weight. The significant differences in molecular size and sugar composition among CPSs of these strains of C. neoformans serotype A may partially explain strain differences in virulence and biological properties of the organism.
Small, JM; Mitchell, TG; Wheat, RW
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