Protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania synthesize a complex lipophosphoglycan (LPG), which is the major cell surface macromolecule. The LPG from Leishmania major contains beta-D-Arap-terminating side chains that are involved in regulating the attachment of the parasite to the midgut epithelium of its insect vector. An arabinose sugar nucleotide donor was identified in soluble extracts of L. major promastigotes. This sugar nucleotide was biosynthetically labeled with D-[2-3H]Glc and with D-[5-3H]Ara. The labeled sugar nucleotide generated [3H]Ara and GDP after mild acid hydrolysis. The absolute configuration of the arabinose was determined after reduction and acylation with a pure enantiomer of Mosher's acid chloride. The pyranose ring configuration was inferred from the ability of GDP-Ara to form borate complexes, and the anomeric configuration was deduced from the results of mild base hydrolysis experiments. Taken together these data suggest that the sugar nucleotide has the structure GDP-alpha-D-Arap. This sugar nucleotide has not been previously described from natural sources and may be unique to trypanosomatid protozoan parasites. Ara-1-PO4 and GDP-Ara were the only soluble metabolites labeled with [3H]Ara, and pulse-chase experiment data are consistent with them being precursors of the arabinosyl residues of LPG.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Biological Chemistry
|Published - 1 Jan 1994