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J Oral Microbiol. 2012;4. doi: 10.3402/jom.v4i0.19076. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Purification and characterization of a novel secondary fimbrial protein from Porphyromonas gulae.

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  • 1Department of Infection Control, Division of Microbiology, Kanagawa Dental College, Yokosuka, Japan.



Porphyromonas gulae are black-pigmented anaerobic bacteria isolated from the gingival sulcus of various animal hosts and are distinct from Porphyromonas gingivalis originating in humans. We previously reported the antigenic similarities of 41-kDa fimbriae between P. gulae ATCC 51700 and P. gingivalis ATCC 33277. In this study, to clarify the presence of another type of fimbriae of P. gulae, we have purified and characterized the secondary fimbrial protein from P. gulae ATCC 51700.


The secondary fimbrial protein was purified from P. gulae ATCC 51700 using an immunoaffinity column coupling with antibodies against the 41-kDa fimbrial protein. The expression of fimbriae on the cell surface of P. gulae ATCC 51700 was investigated by transmission electron microscopy. The N-terminal amino acid sequence was determined by an amino acid sequencer system.


The molecular mass of this protein was approximately 53-kDa, as estimated by SDS-PAGE. The polyclonal antibodies against the 53-kDa protein did not react with the 41-kDa fimbrial protein of P. gulae ATCC 51700. Immunogold electron microscopy revealed that anti-53-kDa fimbrial serum bound to fimbria on the cell surface of P. gulae ATCC 51700. The amino acid sequence of the N-terminal 15 residues of the 53-kDa fimbrial protein showed only 1 of 15 residues identical to the 41-kDa fimbrial protein.


The 53-kDa fimbriae are different in molecular weight and antigenicity from the 41-kDa fimbrial protein of P. gulae ATCC 51700. These results clearly suggest that the 41-kDa and the 53-kDa fimbriae are distinct types of fimbriae expressed simultaneously by this organism.


53-kDa protein; Porphyromonas gingivalis; Porphyromonas gulae; fimbriae; oral microbiology; periodontal disease; purification

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