Structures of Capsular Polysaccharide Serotypes 35F and 35C of Streptococcus pneumoniae Determined by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Their Relation to Other Cross-Reactive Serotypes

Bush CA, Cisar JO, Yang J. J Bacteriol. 2015 Sep;197(17):2762-9. doi: 10.1128/JB.00207-15. PMID: 26055112


The structures of Streptococcus pneumoniae capsular polysaccharides (CPSs) are essential for defining the antigenic as well as genetic relationships between CPS serotypes. The four serotypes that comprise CPS serogroup 35 (i.e., types 35F, 35A, 35B, and 35C) are known to cross-react with genetically related type 20, 29, 34, 42, or 47F. While the structures of CPS serotype 35A (CPS35A) and CPS35B are known, those of CPS35F and CPS35C are not. In the present study, the serotypes of CPS35F and CPS35C were characterized by high-resolution heteronuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and glycosyl composition analyses to reveal the following repeat unit structures: [Formula: see text] where OAc indicates O-acetylated. Importantly, CPS35F, the immunizing serotype for the production of group 35 serum, more closely resembles CPS34 and CPS47F than other members of serogroup 35. Moreover, CPS35C is distinct from either CPS35F or CPS35B but closely related to CPS35A and identical to de-O-acetylated CPS42. The findings provide a comprehensive view of the structural and genetic relations that exist between the members of CPS serogroup 35 and other cross-reactive serotypes.

Cross-reactions of diagnostic rabbit antisera with Streptococcus pneumoniae capsular polysaccharide serotypes are generally limited to members of the same serogroup. Exceptions do, however, occur, most notably among a group of nonvaccine serotypes that includes the members of serogroup 35 (i.e., types 35F, 35A, 35B, and 35C) and other genetically related types. The presently determined structures of S. pneumoniae serotypes 35F and 35C complete the structural characterization of serogroup 35 and thereby provide the first comprehensive description of how different members of this serogroup are related to each other and to types 29, 34, 42, and 47F. The structural and genetic features of these serotypes suggest the existence of three distinct capsular polysaccharide subgroups that presumably emerged by immune selection in the human host.