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Anaerobe. 2012 Feb;18(1):157-61. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2012.01.001. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Synergistic effect on biofilm formation between Fusobacterium nucleatum and Capnocytophaga ochracea.

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Department of Microbiology, Tokyo Dental College, Chiba, Japan.


The formation of dental plaque biofilm by specific Gram-negative rods and spirochetes plays an important role in the development of periodontal disease. The aim of this study was to characterize biofilm formation by Fusobacterium nucleatum and Capnocytophaga ochracea. Coaggregation between F. nucleatum and Capnocytophaga species was determined by visual assay. Biofilm formation was assessed by crystal violet staining. Enhancement of biofilm formation by F. nucleatum via soluble factor of C. ochracea was evaluated by addition of culture supernatant and a two-compartment separated co-culture system. Production of autoinducer-2 by the tested organisms was evaluated using Vibrio harveyi BB170. F. nucleatum strains coaggregated with C. ochracea ATCC 33596 or ONO-26 strains. Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid, N-acetyl-d-galactosamine or lysine inhibited coaggregation. Heating or proteinase K treatment of F. nucleatum cells affected coaggregation, whereas the same treatment of C. ochracea cells did not. Co-culture of F. nucleatum with C. ochracea in the same well resulted in a statistically significant increase in biofilm formation. Enhancement of F. nucleatum biofilm formation by a soluble component of C. ochracea was observed using the two-compartment co-culture system (P < 0.05) and confirmed by addition of culture supernatant of C. ochracea (P < 0.01). The present findings indicate that induction of coaggregation and intracellular interaction by release of a diffusible molecule by C. ochracea play a significant role in the formation of biofilm by F. nucleatum and C. ochracea.

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