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J Dent Res. 1991 Sep;70(9):1258-61.

Effect of transferrin on the growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis.

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Department of Preventive Dentistry, Osaka University Faculty of Dentistry, Japan.


This study describes the effect of transferrin as an iron source on the growth of Porphyromonas (formally Bacteroides) gingivalis. Bacterial growth was monitored spectrophotometrically. All strains of P. gingivalis tested grew well in medium containing transferrin. The growth of P. gingivalis depended not only on the concentration of transferrin, but also on the iron saturation level of the protein. However, growth was not stimulated with either the ferrous or ferric iron salts tested. The addition of dipyridyl to the medium containing transferrin suppressed the growth of P. gingivalis, which also did not show species-specificity for human transferrin. Transferrin-binding activity was found in P. gingivalis by solid-phase assay with peroxidase-conjugated human transferrin. These results suggest that P. gingivalis may be capable of utilizing transferrin as an iron source for growth in vivo.

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