Formation of dental plaque is a developmental process involving initial and late colonizing species that form polymicrobial communities. Fusobacteria are the most numerous gram-negative bacteria in dental plaque, but they become prevalent after the initial commensal colonizers, such as streptococci and actinomyces, have established communities. The unusual ability of these bacteria to coaggregate with commensals, as well as pathogenic late colonizers, has been proposed to facilitate colonization by the latter organisms. We investigated the integration of Fusobacterium nucleatum into multispecies communities by employing two in vitro models with saliva as the sole nutritional source. In flow cell biofilms, numbers of cells were quantified using fluorescently conjugated antibodies against each species, and static biofilms were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR (q-PCR) using species-specific primers. Unable to grow as single-species biofilms, F. nucleatum grew in two-species biofilms with Actinomyces naeslundii but not with Streptococcus oralis. However, enhanced growth of fusobacteria was observed in three-species biofilms, indicating that there was multispecies cooperation. Importantly, these community dynamics yielded an 18-fold increase in the F. nucleatum biomass between 4 h and 18 h in the flow cell inoculated with three species. q-PCR analysis of static biofilms revealed that maximum growth of the three species occurred at 24 h to 36 h. Lower numbers of cells were observed at 48 h, suggesting that saliva could not support higher cell densities as the sole nutrient. Integration of F. nucleatum into multispecies commensal communities was evident from the interdigitation of fusobacteria in coaggregates with A. naeslundii and S. oralis and from the improved growth of fusobacteria, which was dependent on the presence of A. naeslundii.
Information on co-adherence of different oral bacterial species is important for understanding interspecies interactions within oral microbial community. Current knowledge on this topic is heavily based on pariwise coaggregation of known, cultivable species. In this study, we employed a membrane binding assay coupled with polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) to systematically analyze the co-adherence profiles of oral bacterial species, and achieved a more profound knowledge beyond pairwise coaggregation. Two oral bacterial species were selected to serve as “bait”: Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum) whose ability to adhere to a multitude of oral bacterial species has been extensively studied for pairwise interactions and Streptococcus mutans(S. mutans) whose interacting partners are largely unknown. To enable screening of interacting partner species within bacterial mixtures, cells of the “bait” oral bacterium were immobilized on nitrocellulose membranes which were washed and blocked to prevent unspecific binding. The “prey” bacterial mixtures (including known species or natural saliva samples) were added, unbound cells were washed off after the incubation period and the remaining cells were eluted using 0.2 mol·L−1 glycine. Genomic DNA was extracted, subjected to 16S rRNAPCR amplification and separation of the resulting PCR products by DGGE. Selected bands were recovered from the gel, sequenced and identified via Nucleotide BLAST searches against different databases. While few bacterial species bound to S. mutans, consistent with previous findings F.nucleatum adhered to a variety of bacterial species including uncultivable and uncharacterized ones. This new approach can more effectively analyze the co-adherence profiles of oral bacteria, and could facilitate the systematic study of interbacterial binding of oral microbial species.
membrane binding assay; polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; coaggregation; Fusobacterium nucleatum; Streptococcus mutans
Microbial communities within the human oral cavity are dynamic associations of more than 500 bacterial species that form biofilms on the soft and hard tissues of the mouth. Understanding the development and spatial organization of oral biofilms has been facilitated by the use of in vitro models. We used a saliva-conditioned flow cell, with saliva as the sole nutritional source, as a model to examine the development of multispecies biofilm communities from an inoculum containing the coaggregation partners Streptococcus gordonii, Actinomyces naeslundii, Veillonella atypica, and Fusobacterium nucleatum. Biofilms inoculated with individual species in a sequential order were compared with biofilms inoculated with coaggregates of the four species. Our results indicated that flow cells inoculated sequentially produced biofilms with larger biovolumes compared to those biofilms inoculated with coaggregates. Individual-species biovolumes within the four-species communities also differed between the two modes of inoculation. Fluorescence in situ hybridization with genus- and species-specific probes revealed that the majority of cells in both sequentially and coaggregate-inoculated biofilms were S. gordonii, regardless of the inoculation order. However, the representation of A. naeslundii and V. atypica was significantly higher in biofilms inoculated with coaggregates compared to sequentially inoculated biofilms. Thus, these results indicate that the development of multispecies biofilm communities is influenced by coaggregations preformed in planktonic phase. Coaggregating bacteria such as certain streptococci are especially adapted to primary colonization of saliva-conditioned surfaces independent of the mode of inoculation and order of addition in the multispecies inoculum. Preformed coaggregations favor other bacterial strains and may facilitate symbiotic relationships.
Streptococcus gordonii is one of several species that can initiate the formation of oral biofilms that develop into the complex multispecies microbial communities referred to as dental plaque. It is in the context of dental plaque that periodontal pathogens such as Porphyromonas gingivalis cause disease. We have previously reported a whole cell quantitative proteomics investigation of P. gingivalis in a model dental plaque community of S. gordonii, P. gingivalis, and Fusobacterium nucleatum. Here we report the adaptation of S. gordonii to the same model.
1122 S. gordonii proteins were detected in S. gordonii control samples, 915 in communities with F. nucleatum, 849 with P. gingivalis, and 649 with all three organisms. Quantitative comparisons showed extensive proteome changes in association with F. nucleatum or P. gingivalis individually or both P. gingivalis and F. nucleatum together. The changes were species specific, though the P. gingivalis interaction may be dominant, indicated by large differences between the proteomes with F. nucleatum or P. gingivalis but limited changes between communities with P. gingivalis or both P. gingivalis and F. nucleatum. The results were inspected manually and an ontology analysis conducted using DAVID. Extensive changes were seen in nutrition pathways with increases in energy metabolism and changes in the resulting byproducts, while the acid and sugar repressed PTS (phosphoenolpyruvate dependent phosphotransferase system) sugar transport systems showed decreases. These results were seen across all the multispecies samples, though with different profiles according to the partner species. F. nucleatum association decreased proteins for the metabolic end products acetate and ethanol but increased lactate, the primary source of acidity from streptococcal cultures. P. gingivalis containing samples had a reduction in levels of proteins for ethanol and formate but increased proteins for both acetate and lactate production. The communities also showed increases in exopolysaccharide synthesis, amino acid biosynthesis, and oxidative stress protection and decreases in adhesion and transporter proteins.
This study showed that S. gordonii demonstrates species specific responses during interactions with F. nucleatum or P. gingivalis. Extensive changes were seen in energy metabolism and byproduct production implicating nutrient transfer as an important community interaction.
Streptococcus gordonii; Oral biofilm; Proteomics; Model community; Porphyromonas gingivalis; Fusobacterium nucleatum
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a periodontal pathogen that resides in a complex multispecies microbial biofilm community known as dental plaque. Confocal laser scanning microscopy showed that P. gingivalis can assemble into communities in vitro with Streptococcus gordonii and Fusobacterium nucleatum, common constituents of dental plaque. Whole cell quantitative proteomics, along with mutant construction and analysis, were conducted to investigate how P. gingivalis adapts to this three species community.
1156 P. gingivalis proteins were detected qualitatively during comparison of the three species model community with P. gingivalis incubated alone under the same conditions. Integration of spectral counting and summed signal intensity analyses of the dataset showed that 403 proteins were down-regulated and 89 proteins up-regulated. The proteomics results were inspected manually and an ontology analysis conducted using DAVID. Significant decreases were seen in proteins involved in cell shape and the formation of the cell envelope, as well as thiamine, cobalamin, and pyrimidine synthesis and DNA repair. An overall increase was seen in proteins involved in protein synthesis. HmuR, a TonB dependent outer membrane receptor, was up-regulated in the community and an hmuR deficient mutant was deficient in three species community formation, but was unimpaired in its ability to form mono- or dual-species biofilms.
Collectively, these results indicate that P. gingivalis can assemble into a heterotypic community with F. nucleatum and S. gordonii, and that a community lifestyle provides physiologic support for P. gingivalis. Proteins such as HmuR, that are up-regulated, can be necessary for community structure.
Human oral bacterial pathogens grow in attached multispecies biofilm communities. Unattached cells are quickly removed by swallowing. Therefore, surface attachment is essential for growth, and we investigated multispecies community interactions resulting in mutualistic growth on saliva as the sole nutritional source. We used two model systems, saliva-coated transferable solid-phase polystyrene pegs (peg biofilms) and flow cells with saliva-coated glass surfaces. Fluorescent antibody staining and image analysis were used to quantify the biomass in flow cells, and quantitative real-time PCR with species-specific primers was used to quantify the biomass in peg biofilms. Veillonella sp. strain PK1910, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans JP2, and Fusobacterium nucleatum ATCC 10953 were unable to grow as single species in flow cells. Only A. actinomycetemcomitans grew after 36 h when peg biofilms remained submerged in saliva from the time of inoculation. Mixed-species coaggregates were used for two- and three-species inoculation. The biomass in two-species biofilms increased in both systems when Veillonella sp. strain PK1910 was present as one of the partners. Enhanced growth of all strains was observed in three-species biofilms in flow cells. Interestingly, in flow cells F. nucleatum and A. actinomycetemcomitans exhibited mutualism, and, although F. nucleatum was unable to grow with either of the other species in the peg system, F. nucleatum stimulated the growth of Veillonella sp. and together these two organisms increased the total biomass of A. actinomycetemcomitans in three-species peg biofilms. We propose that mutualistic two-species and multispecies oral biofilm communities form in vivo and that mutualism between commensal veillonellae and late colonizing pathogens, such as aggregatibacteria, contributes to the development of periodontal disease.
Filifactor alocis is a gram positive anaerobe that is emerging as an important periodontal pathogen. In the oral cavity F. alocis colonizes polymicrobial biofilm communities; however, little is known regarding the nature of the interactions between F. alocis and other oral biofilm bacteria. Here we investigate the community interactions of two strains of F. alocis with Streptococcus gordonii, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, organisms with differing pathogenic potential in the oral cavity. In an in vitro community development model, S. gordonii was antagonistic to the accumulation of F. alocis into a dual species community. In contrast, F. nucleatum and the type strain of F. alocis formed a synergistic partnership. Accumulation of a low passage isolate of F. alocis was also enhanced by F. nucleatum. In three species communities of S. gordonii, F. nucleatum and F. alocis, the antagonistic effects of S. gordonii superseded the synergistic effects of F. nucleatum toward F. alocis. The interaction between A. actinomycetemcomitans and F. alocis was strain specific and A. actinomycetemcomitans could either stimulate F. alocis accumulation or have no effect depending on the strain. P. gingivalis and F. alocis formed heterotypic communities with the amount of P. gingivalis greater than in the absence of F. alocis. However, while P. gingivalis benefited from the relationship, levels of F. alocis in the dual species community were lower compared to F. alocis alone. The inhibitory effect of P. gingivalis toward F. alocis was dependent, at least partially, on the presence of the Mfa1 fimbrial subunit. In addition, AI-2 production by P. gingivalis helped maintain levels of F. alocis. Collectively, these results show that the pattern of F. alocis colonization will be dictated by the spatial composition of microbial microenvironments, and that the organism may preferentially accumulate at sites rich in F. nucleatum.
Oral bacterial biofilms are highly complex microbial communities with up to 700 different bacterial taxa. We report here the use of metatranscriptomic analysis to study patterns of community gene expression in a multispecies biofilm model composed of species found in healthy oral biofilms (Actinomyces naeslundii, Lactobacillus casei, Streptococcus mitis, Veillonella parvula, and Fusobacterium nucleatum) and the same biofilm plus the periodontopathogens Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. The presence of the periodontopathogens altered patterns in gene expression, and data indicate that transcription of protein-encoding genes and small noncoding RNAs is stimulated. In the healthy biofilm hypothetical proteins, transporters and transcriptional regulators were upregulated while chaperones and cell division proteins were downregulated. However, when the pathogens were present, chaperones were highly upregulated, probably due to increased levels of stress. We also observed a significant upregulation of ABC transport systems and putative transposases. Changes in Clusters of Orthologous Groups functional categories as well as gene set enrichment analysis based on Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways showed that in the absence of pathogens, only sets of proteins related to transport and secondary metabolism were upregulated, while in the presence of pathogens, proteins related to growth and division as well as a large portion of transcription factors were upregulated. Finally, we identified several small noncoding RNAs whose predicted targets were genes differentially expressed in the open reading frame libraries. These results show the importance of pathogens controlling gene expression of a healthy oral community and the usefulness of metatranscriptomic techniques to study gene expression profiles in complex microbial community models.
Fusobacterium nucleatum is a gram-negative oral bacterial species associated with periodontal disease progression. This species is perhaps best known for its ability to adhere to a vast array of other bacteria and eukaryotic cells. Numerous studies of F. nucleatum have examined various coaggregation partners and inhibitors, but it is largely unknown whether these interactions induce a particular genetic response. We tested coaggregation between F. nucleatum ATCC strain 25586 and various species of Streptococcus in the presence of a semidefined growth medium containing saliva. We found that this condition could support efficient coaggregation but, surprisingly, also stimulated a similar degree of autoaggregation. We further characterized the autoaggregation response, since few reports have examined this in F. nucleatum. After screening several common coaggregation inhibitors, we identified l-lysine as a competitive inhibitor of autoaggregation. We performed a microarray analysis of the planktonic versus autoaggregated cells and found nearly 100 genes that were affected after only about 60 min of aggregation. We tested a subset of these genes via real-time reverse transcription-PCR and confirmed the validity of the microarray results. Some of these genes were also found to be inducible in cell pellets created by centrifugation. Based upon these data, it appears that autoaggregation activates a genetic program that may be utilized for growth in a high cell density environment, such as the oral biofilm.
Coaggregation is a well-characterized phenomenon by which specific pairs of oral bacteria interact physically. The aim of this study was to examine the patterns of coaggregation between obligately anaerobic and oxygen-tolerant species that coexist in a model oral microbial community. Obligate anaerobes other than Fusobacterium nucleatum coaggregated only poorly with oxygen-tolerant species. In contrast, F. nucleatum was able to coaggregate not only with both oxygen-tolerant and other obligately anaerobic species but also with otherwise-noncoaggregating obligate anaerobe–oxygen-tolerant species pairs. The effects of the presence or absence of F. nucleatum on anaerobe survival in both the biofilm and planktonic phases of a complex community of oral bacteria grown in an aerated (gas phase, 200 ml of 5% CO2 in air · min−1) chemostat system were then investigated. In the presence of F. nucleatum, anaerobes persisted in high numbers (>107 · ml−1 in the planktonic phase and >107 · cm−2 in 4-day biofilms). In an equivalent culture in the absence of F. nucleatum, the numbers of black-pigmented anaerobes (Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella nigrescens) were significantly reduced (P ≤ 0.001) in both the planktonic phase and in 4-day biofilms, while the numbers of facultatively anaerobic bacteria increased in these communities. Coaggregation-mediated interactions between F. nucleatum and other species facilitated the survival of obligate anaerobes in aerated environments.
Human oral bacteria live in multispecies communities in the biofilm called dental plaque. This review focuses on the interactions of seven species and the ability of each species individually and together with other species to grow on saliva as the sole source of nutrient. Community formation in biofilms in flow cells is monitored using species-specific fluorophore-conjugated immunoglobulin G, and images are captured by confocal microscopy. Early colonizing veillonellae emerge from this review of interspecies interactions in saliva as a critical genus that guides the development of multispecies communities. Highly selective interspecies recognition is evident as initial colonizers pair with early and middle colonizers to form multispecies communities that grow on saliva.
growth on saliva; multispecies communities; biofilm; flow cell; interspecies interactions
Periodontitis results from an ecological shift in the composition of subgingival biofilms. Subgingival community maturation is modulated by inter-organismal interactions and the relationship of communities with the host. In an effort to better understand this process, we evaluated biofilm formation, with oral commensal species, by three strains of the subgingivally prevalent microorganism Fusobacterium nucleatum and four strains of the periodontopathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. We also tested the effect of serum, which resembles gingival exudates, on subgingival biofilms. Biofilms were allowed to develop in flow cells using salivary medium. We found that although not all strains of F. nucleatum were able to grow in mono-species biofilms, forming a community with health-associated partners Actinomyces oris and Veillonella parvula promoted biofilm growth of all F. nucleatum strains. Strains of P. gingivalis also showed variable ability to form mono-species biofilms. P. gingivalis W50 and W83 did not form biofilms, while ATCC 33277 and 381 formed biofilm structures, but only strain ATCC 33277 grew over time. Unlike the enhanced growth of F. nucleatum with the two health-associated species, no strain of P. gingivalis grew in three-species communities with A. oris and V. parvula. However, addition of F. nucleatum facilitated growth of P. gingivalis ATCC 33277 with health-associated partners. Importantly, serum negatively affected the adhesion of F. nucleatum, while it favored biofilm growth by P. gingivalis. This work highlights strain specificity in subgingival biofilm formation. Environmental factors such as serum alter the colonization patterns of oral microorganisms and could impact subgingival biofilms by selectively promoting pathogenic species.
oral multi-species communities; subgingival; Fusobacterium nucleatum; Porphyromonas gingivalis; strain variability; serum; biofilms
A defining characteristic of the suspected periodontal pathogen Fusobacterium nucleatum is its ability to adhere to a plethora of oral bacteria. This distinguishing feature is suggested to play an important role in oral biofilm formation and pathogenesis, with fusobacteria proposed to serve as central “bridging organisms” in the architecture of the oral biofilm bringing together species which would not interact otherwise. Previous studies indicate that these bacterial interactions are mediated by galactose- or arginine-inhibitable adhesins although genetic evidence for the role and nature of these proposed adhesins remains elusive. To characterize these adhesins at the molecular level, the genetically transformable F. nucleatum strain ATCC 23726 was screened for adherence properties, and arginine inhibitable adhesion was evident, while galactose-inhibitable adhesion was not detected. Six potential arginine binding proteins were isolated from the membrane fraction of F. nucleatum ATCC 23726 and identified via mass spectroscopy as members of the outer membrane family of proteins in F. nucleatum. Inactivation of the genes encoding these six candidates for arginine-inhibitable adhesion and two additional homologues revealed that only a mutant derivative carrying an insertion in Fn1526 (now designated as radD) demonstrated significantly decreased co-aggregation with representatives of the Gram-positive “early oral colonizers”. Lack of the 350 kDa outer membrane protein encoded by radD resulted in the failure to form the extensive structured biofilm observed with the parent strain when grown in the presence of Streptococcus sanguinis ATCC 10556. These findings indicate that radD is responsible for arginine-inhibitable adherence of F. nucleatum and provides definitive molecular evidence that F. nucleatum adhesins play a vital role in inter-species adherence and multispecies biofilm formation.
Fusobacterium nucleatum; RadD. Arginine; Adhesin; Biofilm; Co-aggregation
Fusobacterium nucleatum is a gram-negative anaerobe that is prevalent in periodontal disease and infections of different parts of the body. The organism has remarkable adherence properties, binding to partners ranging from eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells to extracellular macromolecules. Understanding its adherence is important for understanding the pathogenesis of F. nucleatum. In this study, a novel adhesin, FadA (Fusobacterium adhesin A), was demonstrated to bind to the surface proteins of the oral mucosal KB cells. FadA is composed of 129 amino acid (aa) residues, including an 18-aa signal peptide, with calculated molecular masses of 13.6 kDa for the intact form and 12.6 kDa for the secreted form. It is highly conserved among F. nucleatum, Fusobacterium periodonticum, and Fusobacterium simiae, the three most closely related oral species, but is absent in the nonoral species, including Fusobacterium gonidiaformans, Fusobacterium mortiferum, Fusobacterium naviforme, Fusobacterium russii, and Fusobacterium ulcerans. In addition to FadA, F. nucleatum ATCC 25586 and ATCC 49256 also encode two paralogues, FN1529 and FNV2159, each sharing 31% identity with FadA. A double-crossover fadA deletion mutant, F. nucleatum 12230-US1, was constructed by utilizing a novel sonoporation procedure. The mutant had a slightly slower growth rate, yet its binding to KB and Chinese hamster ovarian cells was reduced by 70 to 80% compared to that of the wild type, indicating that FadA plays an important role in fusobacterial colonization in the host. Furthermore, due to its uniqueness to oral Fusobacterium species, fadA may be used as a marker to detect orally related fusobacteria. F. nucleatum isolated from other parts of the body may originate from the oral cavity.
Bacteria are causative agents of periodontal diseases. Interactions between oral bacteria and gingival epithelial cells are essential aspects of periodontal infections. Using an in vitro tissue culture model, a selected group of gram-negative anaerobic bacteria frequently associated with periodontal diseases, including Bacteroides forsythus, Campylobacter curvus, Eikenella corrodens, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Prevotella intermedia, were examined for their ability to adhere to and invade primary cultures of human gingival epithelial cells (HGEC). The effects of these bacteria on the production of interleukin-8 (IL-8), a proinflammatory chemokine, were also measured. These studies provided an initial demonstration that F. nucleatum adhered to and invaded HGEC and that this was accompanied by high levels of IL-8 secretion from the epithelial cells. The attachment and invasion characteristics of F. nucleatum were also tested using KB cells, an oral epithelial cell line. The invasion was verified by transmission electron microscopy and with metabolic inhibitors. Invasion appeared to occur via a “zipping” mechanism and required the involvement of actins, microtubules, signal transduction, protein synthesis, and energy metabolism of the epithelial cell, as well as protein synthesis by F. nucleatum. A spontaneous mutant, lam, of F. nucleatum, isolated as defective in autoagglutination, was unable to attach to or invade HGEC or KB cells, further indicating the requirement of bacterial components in these processes. Sugar inhibition assays indicated that lectin-like interactions were involved in the attachment of F. nucleatum to KB cells. Investigation of these new virulence phenotypes should improve our understanding of the role of F. nucleatum in periodontal infections.
We present a complete DNA sequence and metabolic analysis of the dominant oral bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum. Although not considered a major dental pathogen on its own, this anaerobe facilitates the aggregation and establishment of several other species including the dental pathogens Porphyromonas gingivalis and Bacteroides forsythus. The F. nucleatum strain ATCC 25586 genome was assembled from shotgun sequences and analyzed using the ERGO bioinformatics suite (http://www.integratedgenomics.com). The genome contains 2.17 Mb encoding 2,067 open reading frames, organized on a single circular chromosome with 27% GC content. Despite its taxonomic position among the gram-negative bacteria, several features of its core metabolism are similar to that of gram-positive Clostridium spp., Enterococcus spp., and Lactococcus spp. The genome analysis has revealed several key aspects of the pathways of organic acid, amino acid, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism. Nine very-high-molecular-weight outer membrane proteins are predicted from the sequence, none of which has been reported in the literature. More than 137 transporters for the uptake of a variety of substrates such as peptides, sugars, metal ions, and cofactors have been identified. Biosynthetic pathways exist for only three amino acids: glutamate, aspartate, and asparagine. The remaining amino acids are imported as such or as di- or oligopeptides that are subsequently degraded in the cytoplasm. A principal source of energy appears to be the fermentation of glutamate to butyrate. Additionally, desulfuration of cysteine and methionine yields ammonia, H2S, methyl mercaptan, and butyrate, which are capable of arresting fibroblast growth, thus preventing wound healing and aiding penetration of the gingival epithelium. The metabolic capabilities of F. nucleatum revealed by its genome are therefore consistent with its specialized niche in the mouth.
Studies on the adherence properties of oral bacteria have been a major focus in microbiology research for several decades. The ability of bacteria to adhere to the variety of surfaces present in the oral cavity, and to become integrated within the resident microbial communities, confers growth and survival properties. Molecular analyses have revealed several families of Gram-positive bacterial surface proteins, including serine-rich repeat, antigen I/II, and pilus families, that mediate adherence to a variety of salivary and oral bacterial receptors. In Gram-negative bacteria, pili, auto-transporters, and extracellular matrix-binding proteins provide components for host tissue recognition and building of complex microbial communities. Future studies will reveal in greater detail the binding pockets for these adhesin families and their receptors. This information will be crucial for the development of new inhibitors or vaccines that target the functional regions of bacterial proteins that are involved in colonization and pathogenesis.
bacteria; biofilm(s); microbiology
Oral biofilms comprise complex multispecies consortia aided by specific inter- and intraspecies interactions occurring among commensals and pathogenic bacterial species. Oral biofilms are primary initiating factors of periodontal disease, although complex multifactorial biological influences, including host cell responses, contribute to the individual outcome of the disease. To provide a system to study initial stages of interaction between oral biofilms and the host cells that contribute to the disease process, we developed a novel in vitro model system to grow biofilms on rigid gas-permeable contact lenses (RGPLs), which enable oxygen to permeate through the lens material. Bacterial species belonging to early- and late-colonizing groups were successfully established as single- or three-species biofilms, with each group comprising Streptococcus gordonii, Streptococcus oralis, and Streptococcus sanguinis; S. gordonii, Actinomyces naeslundii, and Fusobacterium nucleatum; or S. gordonii, F. nucleatum, and Porphyromonas gingivalis. Quantification of biofilm numbers by quantitative PCR (qPCR) revealed substantial differences in the magnitude of bacterial numbers in single-species and multispecies biofilms. We evaluated cell-permeable conventional nucleic acid stains acridine orange, hexidium iodide, and Hoechst 33258 and novel SYTO red, blue, and green fluorochromes for their effect on bacterial viability and fluorescence yield to allow visualization of the aggregates of individual bacterial species by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Substantial differences in the quantity and distribution of the species in the multispecies biofilms were identified. The specific features of these biofilms may help us better understand the role of various bacteria in local challenge of oral tissues.
The mechanical therapy with multiple doses of antibiotics is one of modalities for treatment of periodontal diseases. However, treatments using multiple doses of antibiotics carry risks of generating resistant strains and misbalancing the resident body flora. We present an approach via immunization targeting an outer membrane protein FomA of Fusobacterium nucleatum, a central bridging organism in the architecture of oral biofilms. Neutralization of FomA considerably abrogated the enhancement of bacterial co-aggregation, biofilms and production of volatile sulfur compounds mediated by an interspecies interaction of F. nucleatum with Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis). Vaccination targeting FomA also conferred a protective effect against co-infection-induced gum inflammation. Here, we advance a novel infectious mechanism by which F. nucleatum co-opts P. gingivalis to exacerbate gum infections. FomA is highlighted as a potential target for development of new therapeutics against periodontal infection and halitosis in humans.
Co-aggregation; Fusobacterium nucleatum; FomA; Porphyromonas gingivalis; Vaccine; Abscesses; Halitosis
Attachment of Fusobacterium nucleatum to various oral surfaces is mediated by several adhesins anchored on its outer surface. Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) were prepared and used to identify the putative galactose-binding adhesin of F. nucleatum PK1594. Four unique MAbs, 8G7, 26B9, 28G11, and 29D4, were isolated on the basis of their ability to inhibit coaggregation of F. nucleatum PK1594 with Porphyromonas gingivalis PK1924. All four MAbs were also capable of inhibiting galactose-inhibitable interactions of F. nucleatum PK1594 with other oral gram-negative bacteria and with erythrocytes. Preincubation of F. nucleatum PK1594 with MAb 26B9 or its Fab fragments at concentrations lower than 1 microg/ml resulted in complete inhibition of coaggregation with P. gingivalis PK1924 or hemagglutination. F. nucleatum PK1594 surface components prepared by mild sonication or by extracting whole cells with detergents were subjected to Western blot analysis. None of the MAbs were able to recognize any polypeptide in these experiments. Therefore, detergent extracts of F. nucleatum PK1594 surface components were subjected to three experimental procedures: (i) separation by ion-exchange chromatography and testing of fractions for reaction with MAb 26B9 in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), (ii) lactose-Sepharose affinity chromatography and testing of the lactose eluate in ELISA with MAb 26B9, and (iii) immunoseparation with either MAb 26B9 or 8G7. Collectively, the results suggest that the putative adhesin is a 30-kDa outer membrane polypeptide which mediates the coaggregation with P. gingivalis PK1924 as well as other galactose-sensitive interactions of F. nucleatum PK1594.
Fusobacterium nucleatum is a gram-negative anaerobe ubiquitous to the oral cavity. It is associated with periodontal disease. It is also associated with preterm birth and has been isolated from the amniotic fluid, placenta, and chorioamnionic membranes of women delivering prematurely. Periodontal disease is a newly recognized risk factor for preterm birth. This study examined the possible mechanism underlying the link between these two diseases. F. nucleatum strains isolated from amniotic fluids and placentas along with those isolated from orally related sources invaded both epithelial and endothelial cells. The invasive ability may enable F. nucleatum to colonize and infect the pregnant uterus. Transient bacteremia caused by periodontal infection may facilitate bacterial transmission from the oral cavity to the uterus. To test this hypothesis, we intravenously injected F. nucleatum into pregnant CF-1 mice. The injection resulted in premature delivery, stillbirths, and nonsustained live births. The bacterial infection was restricted inside the uterus, without spreading systemically. F. nucleatum was first detected in the blood vessels in murine placentas. Invasion of the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels was observed. The bacteria then crossed the endothelium, proliferated in surrounding tissues, and finally spread to the amniotic fluid. The pattern of infection paralleled that in humans. This study represents the first evidence that F. nucleatum may be transmitted hematogenously to the placenta and cause adverse pregnancy outcomes. The results strengthen the link between periodontal disease and preterm birth. Our study also indicates that invasion may be an important virulence mechanism for F. nucleatum to infect the placenta.
It is largely unknown why a variety of bacteria present in the oral cavity are capable of establishing themselves in the periodontal pockets of nonimmunocompromised individuals in the presence of competent immune effector cells. In this paper we present evidence for the immunosuppressive role of Fusobacterium nucleatum, a gram-negative oral bacterium which plays an important role in the generation of periodontal disease. Our studies indicate that the immunosuppressive role of F. nucleatum is largely due to the ability of this organism to induce apoptotic cell death in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs). F. nucleatum treatment induced apoptosis of PBMCs and PMNs as assessed by an increase in subdiploid DNA content determined by DNA fragmentation and terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end-labeling assays. The ability of F. nucleatum to induce apoptosis was abolished by either heat treatment or proteinase digestion but was retained after formaldehyde treatment, suggesting that a heat-labile surface protein component is responsible for bacterium-mediated cell apoptosis. The data also indicated that F. nucleatum-induced cell apoptosis requires activation of caspases and is protected by NF-κB. Possible mechanisms of F. nucleatum's role in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease are discussed.
Fusobacterium nucleatum is a gram-negative oral anaerobe, capable of systemic dissemination causing infections and abscesses, often in mixed-species, at different body sites. We have shown previously that F. nucleatum adheres to and invades host epithelial and endothelial cells via a novel FadA adhesin. In this study, vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin, a member of the cadherin family and a cell-cell junction molecule, was identified as the endothelial receptor for FadA, required for F. nucleatum binding to the cells. FadA co-localized with VE-cadherin on endothelial cells, causing relocation of VE-cadherin away from the cell-cell junctions. As a result, the endothelial permeability was increased, allowing the bacteria to cross the endothelium through loosened junctions. This crossing mechanism may explain why the organism is able to disseminate systemically to colonize in different body sites and even overcome the placental and blood-brain barriers. Co-incubation of F. nucleatum and E. coli enhanced penetration of the endothelial cells by the latter in the transwell assays, suggesting F. nucleatum may serve as an “enabler” for other microorganisms to spread systemically. This may explain why F. nucleatum is often found in mixed infections. This study reveals a possible novel dissemination mechanism utilized by pathogens.
The oral microbial flora consists of many beneficial species of bacteria that are associated with a healthy condition and control the progression of oral disease. Cooperative interactions between oral streptococci and the pathogens play important roles in the development of dental biofilms in the oral cavity. To determine the roles of oral streptococci in multispecies biofilm development and the effects of the streptococci in biofilm formation, the active substances inhibiting Streptococcus mutans biofilm formation were purified from Streptococcus salivarius ATCC 9759 and HT9R culture supernatants using ion exchange and gel filtration chromatography. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry analysis was performed, and the results were compared to databases. The S. salivarius HT9R genome sequence was determined and used to indentify candidate proteins for inhibition. The candidates inhibiting biofilms were identified as S. salivarius fructosyltransferase (FTF) and exo-beta-d-fructosidase (FruA). The activity of the inhibitors was elevated in the presence of sucrose, and the inhibitory effects were dependent on the sucrose concentration in the biofilm formation assay medium. Purified and commercial FruA from Aspergillus niger (31.6% identity and 59.6% similarity to the amino acid sequence of FruA from S. salivarius HT9R) completely inhibited S. mutans GS-5 biofilm formation on saliva-coated polystyrene and hydroxyapatite surfaces. Inhibition was induced by decreasing polysaccharide production, which is dependent on sucrose digestion rather than fructan digestion. The data indicate that S. salivarius produces large quantities of FruA and that FruA alone may play an important role in multispecies microbial interactions for sucrose-dependent biofilm formation in the oral cavity.
Human oral bacteria interact with their environment by attaching to surfaces and establishing mixed-species communities. As each bacterial cell attaches, it forms a new surface to which other cells can adhere. Adherence and community development are spatiotemporal; such order requires communication. The discovery of soluble signals, such as autoinducer-2, that may be exchanged within multispecies communities to convey information between organisms has emerged as a new research direction. Direct-contact signals, such as adhesins and receptors, that elicit changes in gene expression after cell-cell contact and biofilm growth are also an active research area. Considering that the majority of oral bacteria are organized in dense three-dimensional biofilms on teeth, confocal microscopy and fluorescently labeled probes provide valuable approaches for investigating the architecture of these organized communities in situ. Oral biofilms are readily accessible to microbiologists and are excellent model systems for studies of microbial communication. One attractive model system is a saliva-coated flowcell with oral bacterial biofilms growing on saliva as the sole nutrient source; an intergeneric mutualism is discussed. Several oral bacterial species are amenable to genetic manipulation for molecular characterization of communication both among bacteria and between bacteria and the host. A successful search for genes critical for mixed-species community organization will be accomplished only when it is conducted with mixed-species communities.