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Infect Immun. Feb 1988; 56(2): 439–445.
PMCID: PMC259301

Human salivary acidic proline-rich proteins and statherin promote the attachment of Actinomyces viscosus LY7 to apatitic surfaces.


Actinomyces viscosus LY7 cells adsorbed in high numbers to experimental pellicles formed on hydroxyapatite (HA) from human parotid or submandibular saliva but not to pellicles prepared from human plasma or serum. To determine the nature of the salivary components responsible for promoting adhesion, pellicles were prepared from fractions of submandibular and parotid saliva obtained by chromatography on Trisacryl GF 2000 columns. Adsorption of LY7 cells was promoted by two groups of fractions. Each group was rechromatographed on DEAE-agarose. Fractions which promoted adsorption of LY7 cells were found by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to contain the acidic proline-rich proteins (PRPs) and statherin. Pellicles prepared from 12-micrograms/ml solutions of pure PRP-1, PRP-2, or parotid isoelectric focusing (PIF-slow) variant promoted maximal adsorption of A. viscosus LY7 cells. Somewhat higher concentrations of PRP-3 and PRP-4 were required for maximal adsorption, indicating that the 44-residue carboxy-terminal segment of PRP-1, PRP-2, and PIF-slow enhances LY7 binding but is not essential. Much higher concentrations of statherin were required to promote LY7 adsorption. Adsorption of LY7 cells to pellicles prepared from PRP-1 was not affected over the range of pH 5 to 8. Adsorption was also not inhibited by 50 mM lactose, which is consistent with the notion that type 1 fimbriae, rather than type 2 fimbriae, were responsible. A. viscosus T14, Actinomyces odontolyticus ATCC 17982, and Actinomyces israelii 12597 also adsorbed to PRP-1 pellicles, whereas Actinomyces naeslundii ATCC 12104 did not. Although A. viscosus cells bind strongly to adsorbed PRP-1, the presence of PRP-1 or PRP-3 in solution did not inhibit adhesion. Similarly, [3H]PRP-1 did not bind to LY7 cells, nor was it degraded when incubated with the organism. However, LY7 cells adsorbed to [3H]PRP-1 pellicles. These data suggest that hidden molecular segments of PRP become exposed when the protein adsorbs to HA; these segments then react with adhesins of LY7 cells. The apparent ability of A. viscosus cells to recognize segments of PRPs which are exposed only in surface-adsorbed molecules provides a novel mechanism which enables the organism to attach to teeth when suspended in salivary secretions.

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Selected References

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