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Mol Microbiol. 2006 Apr;60(1):121-39.

Streptococcus gordonii utilizes several distinct gene functions to recruit Porphyromonas gingivalis into a mixed community.

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Department of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.


Dental plaque biofilm formation proceeds through a developmental pathway initiated by the attachment of pioneer organisms, such as Streptococcus gordonii, to tooth surfaces. Through a variety of synergistic interactions, pioneer organisms facilitate the colonization of later arrivals including Porphyromonas gingivalis, a potential periodontal pathogen. We have investigated genes of S. gordonii required to support a heterotypic biofilm community with P. gingivalis. By screening a plasmid integration library of S. gordonii, genes were identified that are crucial for the accumulation of planktonic P. gingivalis cells into a multispecies biofilm. These genes were further investigated by specific mutation and complementation analyses. The biofilm-associated genes can be grouped into broad categories based on putative function as follows: (i) intercellular or intracellular signalling (cbe and spxB), (ii) cell wall integrity and maintenance of adhesive proteins (murE, msrA and atf), (iii) extracellular capsule biosynthesis (pgsA and atf), and (iv) physiology (gdhA, ccmA and ntpB). In addition, a gene for a hypothetical protein was identified. Biofilm visualization and quantification by confocal microscopy confirmed the role of these genes in the maturation of the multispecies community, including biofilm architectural development. The results suggest that S. gordonii governs the development of heterotypic oral biofilms through multiple genetic pathways.

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