Synthetic lipid A with endotoxic and related biological activities comparable to those of a natural lipid A from an Escherichia coli re-mutant

Shozo Kotani, Haruhiko Takada, Masachika Tsujimoto, Tomohiko Ogawa, Ichiro Takahashi, Takako Ikeda, Kenji Otsuka, Hidetoshi Shimauchi, Nobuhiko Kasai, Junichi Mashimo, Shigeki Nagao, Atsushi Tanaka, Shigenori Tanaka, Kazuhiro Harada, Kazuyoshi Nagaki, Hajime Kitamura, Tetsuo Shiba, Shoichi Kusumoto, Masahiro Imoto, Hiroyuki Yoshimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Citations (Scopus)


A synthetic compound (506), β(1-6) D-glucosamine disaccharide 1,4'-bisphosphate, which is acylated at 2'-amino and 3'-hydroxyl groups with (R)-3-dodecanoyloxytetradecanoyl and (R)-3-tetradecanoyloxytetradecanoyl groups, respectively, and has (R)-3-hydroxytetradecanoyl groups at 2-amino and 3-hydroxyl groups, exhibited full endotoxic activities identical to or sometimes stronger than those of a reference lipid A from an Escherichia coli Re-mutant (strain F515). Endotoxic activities tested include pyrogenicity and leukopenia-inducing activity in rabbits, body weight-decreasing toxicity in normal mice, lethal toxicity in galactosamine-sensitized mice and chicken embryos, and the preparation and provocation of the local Shwartzman reaction in rabbits. Compound 406, a synthetic counterpart of a biosynthetic precursor of lipid A molecule, showed by contrast only weak activities in all of the above assay systems except for the lethality in galactosamine-loaded mice. This finding strongly suggests that the presence of acyloxyacyl groups at the C-2' and C-3' positions of the disaccharide backbone is one of the most important determinant structures of the lipid A molecule for exhibition of strong biological activities characteristic of lipopolysaccharide and its lipid A moiety. The activities of the corresponding 4'-aminophosphate (compound 504) and 1-monophosphate (505) analogs were considerably less than those of the parent molecule 506 and the reference F515 lipid A. Regarding other biological activities, not only compound 506 but also compounds 504, 505, and 406 showed definite activities, sometimes comparable to those of F515 lipid A and other reference natural products. These are the activation of Tachypleus tridentatus amoebocyte clotting enzyme cascade and human complement via the classical pathway, mitogenic and polyclonal B-cell activation of murine splenocytes, stimulation of peritoneal macrophages in a guinea pig, enhancement of migration of human blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes, and induction of a serum factor that is cytostatic and cytocidal to L-929 cells in Mycobacterium bovis BCG-primed mice. Relative potencies of test synthetic compounds depended on the assay systems and varied from one system to another. Dephospho-compound 503 lacked most of the biological activities that were definitely observed with phosphorylated compounds, probably because of its insolubility. This study demonstrates the successful chemical synthesis of an E. coli-type lipid A.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-237
Number of pages13
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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