2Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky pr. 47, 119991 Moscow, Russia; fax: (499) 135-5328
* This review is based on a presentation made at the 4th Baltic Conference on Microbial Carbohydrates, Hyytiala Forestry Field Station, Finland, September 19-22, 2010.
** To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received January 17, 2011; Revision received January 31, 2011
Anionic phosphate-containing cell wall polymers of bacilli are represented by teichoic acids and poly(glycosyl 1-phosphates). Different locations of phosphodiester bonds in the main chain of teichoic acids as well as the nature and combination of the constituent structural elements underlie their structural diversity. Currently, the structures of teichoic acids of bacilli can be classified into three types, viz. poly(polyol phosphates) with glycerol or ribitol as the polyol; poly(glycosylpolyol phosphates), mainly glycerol-containing polymers; and poly(acylglycosylglycerol phosphate), in which the components are covalently linked through glycosidic, phosphodiester, and amide bonds. In addition to teichoic acids, poly(glycosyl 1-phosphates) with mono- and disaccharide residues in the repeating units have been detected in cell walls of several Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus pumilus strains. The known structures of teichoic acids and poly(glycosyl 1-phosphates) of B. subtilis, B. atrophaeus, B. licheniformis, B. pumilus, B. stearothermophilus, B. coagulans, B. cereus as well as oligomers that link the polymers to peptidoglycan are surveyed. The reported data on the structures of phosphate-containing polymers of different strains of B. subtilis suggest heterogeneity of the species and may be of interest for the taxonomy of bacilli to allow differentiation of closely related organisms according to the “structures and composition of cell wall polymers” criterion.
KEY WORDS: Bacillus, cell wall, teichoic acids, poly(glycosyl 1-phosphates)