Methylthioxylose – a jewel in the mycobacterial crown?
Ten years ago an unusual sugar was discovered in a cell wall polysaccharide of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Structural elucidation revealed the presence of the first thiosugar in a bacterial polysaccharide. Synthetic studies have helped to define its relative and absolute configuration as α-D-methylthioxylofuranosyl. While its biosynthetic origins remain the subject of speculation, work has begun to define its possible biological roles.