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Infect Immun. Oct 1989; 57(10): 3204–3209.
PMCID: PMC260790

Inhibition of coaggregation between Fusobacterium nucleatum and Porphyromonas (Bacteroides) gingivalis by lactose and related sugars.


The coaggregation of Fusobacterium nucleatum PK1594 and Porphyromonas (Bacteroides) gingivalis PK1924 was inhibited equally well by lactose, N-acetyl-D-galactosamine, and D-galactose, which caused 50% inhibition of coaggregation at 2 mM sugar concentration. Other sugars such as D-galactosamine, D-fucose (6-deoxy-D-galactose), and alpha-methyl- and beta-methyl-D-galactosides also inhibited coaggregation. Sugar specificity was apparent, since neither L-fucose, L-rhamnose, N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, nor N-acetylneuraminic acid was an inhibitor. Protease treatment of the fusobacterium completely abolished coaggregation, whereas it had no effect on the coaggregating activity of the porphyromonad. Although numerous lactose-inhibitable coaggregating pairs are known to occur among gram-positive bacteria, this report and the accompanying survey (P. E. Kolenbrander, R. N. Andersen, and L. V. H. Moore, Infect. Immun. 57:3194-3203, 1989) are the first studies demonstrating the extensive nature of this type of interaction between gram-negative human oral bacteria. The significance of galactoside-inhibitable coaggregations between these two potential periodontal pathogens is discussed.

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