The periplasmic glucans of Mesorhizobium loti were isolated and separated into fractions according to their acidity. NMR spectroscopy confirmed their backbone structure to be a cyclic β-(1→2)-d-glucan as in the case of other rhizobia, and revealed no non-glycosidic substituents in the neutral fraction, and glycerophosphoryl and succinyl residues as major and minor substituents, respectively, in the anionic fractions. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry showed that the anionic glucans contain one, two, or three such substituents per molecule according to their acidity, and, in contrast, that all the anionic subfractions have a similar size distribution to that of the neutral glucans, where molecules composed of 20-24 glucosyl residues are predominant. These results clarify the periplasmic glucan composition in terms of charge-to-mass ratios in M. loti cells.
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