Around 90% of chronic dermatophyte infections are caused by the fungi Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Trichophyton rubrum. One of the causes of the chronic infection resides in the immunosuppressive effects of the cell-wall components of these organisms. Therefore we have attempted to identify the chemical structure of galactomannan, one of the major cell-wall components. The cell-wall polysaccharides secreted by T. mentagrophytes and T. rubrum were isolated from the culture medium and fractionated into three subfractions by DEAE-Sephadex chromatography. Analysis of each subfraction by NMR indicated that there are two kinds of polysaccharides present, i.e. mannan and galactomannan. The mannan has a linear backbone consisting of α1,6-linked mannose units, with α1,2-linked mannose units as side chains. The core mannan moiety of the galactomannan was analysed by a sequential NMR assignment method after removing the galactofuranose units by acid treatment. The result indicates that the mannan moiety has a linear repeating structure of α1,2-linked mannotetraose units connected by an α1,6 linkage. The H-1 signals of the two intermediary α1,2-linked mannoses of the tetraose unit showed a significant upfield shift (ΔΔ = 0.05-0.08 p.p.m.), due to the steric effect of an α1,6-linked mannose unit. The attachment point of the galactofuranose units was determined at C-3 of the core mannan by the assignment of the downfield-shifted 13C signals of the galactomannan compared with those of the acid-modified product. In these galactomannans there were no polygalactofuranosyl chains which have been found in Penicillium charlesii and Aspergillus fumigatus.

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Author notes

Present address: Sendai Research Institute for Mycology, 1-14-34 Toshogu, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 981, Japan.