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Impact of branching on the conformational heterogeneity of the lipopolysaccharide from Klebsiella pneumoniae: Implications for vaccine design

Aytenfisu, Asaminew H., Simon, Raphael, MacKerell, Alexander D.
Carbohydrate research 2019 v.475 pp. 39-47
Klebsiella pneumoniae, antibiotics, cross reaction, epitopes, glycosidic linkages, humans, hydrogen bonding, lipopolysaccharides, molecular dynamics, monosaccharides, oxygen, ozone, simulation models, vaccines
Resistance of Klebsiella pneumoniae (KP) to antibiotics has motivated the development of an efficacious KP human vaccine that would not be subject to antibiotic resistance. Klebsiella lipopolysaccharide (LPS) associated O polysaccharide (OPS) types have provoked broad interest as a vaccine antigen as there are only 4 that predominate worldwide (O1, O2a, O3, O5). Klebsiella O1 and O2 OPS are polygalactans that share a common D-Gal-I structure, for which a variant D-Gal-III was recently discovered. To understand the potential impact of this variability on antigenicity, a detailed molecular picture of the conformational differences associated with the addition of the D-Gal-III (1 → 4)-α-Galp branch is presented using enhanced-sampling molecular dynamics simulations. In D-Gal-I two major conformational states are observed while the presence of the 1 → 4 branch in D-Gal-III resulted in only a single dominant extended state. Stabilization of the more folded states in D-Gal-I is due to a O4-H⋯O2 hydrogen bond in the linear backbone that cannot occur in D-Gal-III as the O4 is in the Galp(1 → 4)Galp glycosidic linkage. The impact of branching in D-Gal-III also significantly decreases the accessibility of the monosaccharides in the linear backbone region of D-Gal-I, while the accessibility of the terminal D-Gal-II region of the OPS is not substantially altered. The present results suggest that a vaccine that targets both the D-Gal-I and D-Gal-III LPS can be developed by using D-Gal-III as the antigen combined with cross-reactivity experiments using the Gal-II polysaccharide to assure that this region of the LPS is the primary epitope of the antigen.