O25b (O antigen)
A repetitive glycan polymer contained within an LPS is referred to as the O antigen, O polysaccharide, or O side-chain of the bacteria. The O antigen is attached to the core oligosaccharide, and comprises the outermost domain of the LPS molecule. The composition of the O chain varies from strain to strain. For example, there are over 160 different O antigen structures produced by different E. coli strains. The presence or absence of O chains determines whether the LPS is considered rough or smooth. Full-length O-chains would render the LPS smooth, whereas the absence or reduction of O chains would make the LPS rough. Bacteria with rough LPS usually have more penetrable cell membranes to hydrophobic antibiotics, since a rough LPS is more hydrophobic. O antigen is exposed on the very outer surface of the bacterial cell, and, as a consequence, is a target for recognition by host antibodies.