Carbohydrates in the form of capsular polysaccharides and lipopolysaccharides constitute a major component of the cellular surface for many bacterial species.
In Streptococcus pneumoniae, capsular polysaccharides function as major virulence factors that protect the bacterium from phagocytosis by host immune cells. Within this species, capsular polysaccharides exhibit enormous structural diversity, resulting in significant differences in immunogenicity and antigenicity. In turn, this has presented numerous challenges to the prevention and serological analysis of pneumococcal infections. This white paper from ATCC discusses the importance of capsular polysaccharides in S. pneumoniae infection and describes the use of purified serotype-specific polysaccharides in developing and evaluating pneumococcal vaccines, verifying novel immunoassays, and tracking bacterial disease epidemiology.
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