By Jawetz, Melnick & Adelberg
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Extra info for Jawetz, Melnick, & Adelberg's Medical Microbiology
D-Alanine occurs on the 6 position of Nacetylglucosamine. D: Ribitol teichoic acids of Bacillus subtilis (R, glucose) and Actinomyces streptomycini (R, succinate). ) E: Ribitol teichoic acid of the type 6 pneumococcal capsule. (Reproduced, with permission, from Stanier RY, Doudoroff M, Adelberg EA: The Microbial World, 2nd ed. Copyright © 1963. ) The repeat units of some teichoic acids are shown in Figure 2–16A. The repeat units may be glycerol, joined by 1,3- or 1,2linkages; ribitol, joined by 1,5-linkages, or more complex units in which glycerol or ribitol is joined to a sugar residue such as glucose, galactose, or N-acetylglucosamine.
They are shorter and finer than flagella; like flagella, they are composed of structural protein subunits termed pilins. Some pili contain a single type of pilin, others more than one. Minor proteins termed adhesins are located at the tips of pili and are responsible for the attachment properties. Two classes can be distinguished: ordinary pili, which play a role in the adherence of symbiotic and pathogenic bacteria to host cells, and sex pili, which are responsible for the attachment of donor and recipient cells in bacterial conjugation (see Chapter 7).
Lipoteichoic acid, associated with these fimbriae, is responsible for the adherence of group A streptococci to epithelial cells of their hosts. Pili of different bacteria are antigenically distinct and elicit the formation of antibodies by the host. Antibodies against the pili of one bacterial species will not prevent the attachment of another species. Some bacteria (see Chapter 21), such as N gonorrhoeae, are able to make pili of different antigenic types (antigenic variation) and thus can still adhere to cells in the presence of antibodies to their original type of pili.