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Infect Immun. 2006 Sep;74(9):5023-8.

Porphyromonas gingivalis vesicles enhance attachment, and the leucine-rich repeat BspA protein is required for invasion of epithelial cells by "Tannerella forsythia".

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  • 1Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, 211 Foster Hall, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.


The human oral cavity harbors more than 500 species of bacteria. Periodontitis, a bacterially induced inflammatory disease that leads to tooth loss, is believed to result from infection by a select group of gram-negative periodontopathogens that includes Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, and "Tannerella forsythia" (opinion on name change from Tannerella forsythensis pending; formerly Bacteroides forsythus). Epithelial cell invasion by periodontopathogens is considered to be an important virulence mechanism for evasion of the host defense responses. Further, the epithelial cells with invading bacteria also serve as reservoirs important in recurrent infections. The present study was therefore undertaken to address the epithelial cell adherence and invasion properties of T. forsythia and the role of the cell surface-associated protein BspA in these processes. Further, we were interested in determining if P. gingivalis, one of the pathogens frequently found associated in disease, or its outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) could modulate the epithelial cell adherence and invasion abilities of T. forsythia. Here we show that epithelial cell attachment and invasion by T. forsythia are dependent on the BspA protein. In addition, P. gingivalis or its OMVs enhance the attachment and invasion of T. forsythia to epithelial cells. Thus, interactions between these two bacteria may play important roles in virulence by promoting host cell attachment and invasion.

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