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Infect Immun. 2011 Oct;79(10):3872-86. doi: 10.1128/IAI.05631-11. Epub 2011 Aug 8.

Filifactor alocis has virulence attributes that can enhance its persistence under oxidative stress conditions and mediate invasion of epithelial cells by porphyromonas gingivalis.

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Division of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA.


Filifactor alocis, a Gram-positive anaerobic rod, is one of the most abundant bacteria identified in the periodontal pockets of periodontitis patients. There is a gap in our understanding of its pathogenicity and ability to interact with other periodontal pathogens. To evaluate the virulence potential of F. alocis and its ability to interact with Porphyromonas gingivalis W83, several clinical isolates of F. alocis were characterized. F. alocis showed nongingipain protease and sialidase activities. In silico analysis revealed the molecular relatedness of several virulence factors from F. alocis and P. gingivalis. In contrast to P. gingivalis, F. alocis was relatively resistant to oxidative stress and its growth was stimulated under those conditions. Biofilm formation was significantly increased in coculture. There was an increase in adherence and invasion of epithelial cells in coculture compared with P. gingivalis or F. alocis monocultures. In those epithelial cells, endocytic vesicle-mediated internalization was observed only during coculture. The F. alocis clinical isolate had an increased invasive capacity in coculture with P. gingivalis compared to the ATCC 35896 strain. In addition, there was variation in the proteomes of the clinical isolates compared to the ATCC 35896 strain. Hypothetical proteins and those known to be important virulence factors in other bacteria were identified. These results indicate that F. alocis has virulence properties that may enhance its ability to survive and persist in the periodontal pocket and may play an important role in infection-induced periodontal disease.

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