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Trends Microbiol. 2001 Sep;9(9):429-37.

Genes for tight adherence of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans: from plaque to plague to pond scum.

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Dept of Microbiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The Gram-negative periodontal pathogen Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans forms an extremely tenacious biofilm on solid surfaces such as glass, plastic and hydroxyapatite. This characteristic is likely to be important for colonization of the oral cavity and initiation of a potentially devastating form of periodontal disease. Genetic analysis has revealed a cluster of tad genes responsible for tight adherence to surfaces. Evidence indicates that the tad genes are part of a locus encoding a novel secretion system for the assembly and release of long, bundled Flp pili. Remarkably similar tad loci appear in the genomes of a wide variety of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, including many significant pathogens, and in Archaea. We propose that the tad loci are important for microbial colonization in a variety of environmental niches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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