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J Periodontal Res. 1996 May;31(4):278-84.

Novel polysaccharide capsular serotypes in Porphyromonas gingivalis.

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Department of Oral Microbiology, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Recently van Winkelhoff et al. (1) described 3 novel serotypes in virulent Porphyromonas gingivalis strains, which were based on different polysaccharide antigens. These antigens probably represent capsular structures and have been designated K1, K2 and K3. In the present study we report on 3 novel capsular serotypes, which are represented by P. gingivalis strains ATCC 49417, HG 1690 and HG 1691. The strains, isolated from patients with periodontitis, showed obvious encapsulation in wet India ink preparations. Thermostable antigens could be detected in the supernatant fractions of autoclaved cells. These antigens appeared to be negatively charged, sensitive to periodate degradation, and resistant to proteinase K treatment. On the basis of these characteristics we conclude that the antigens are probably extra-cellular polysaccharides representing a bacterial capsular structure. These K-antigens did not cross-react with K1, K2 or K3 immune-sera of P. gingivalis, with the exception of the K2 antiserum, which partially recognized K5- and K6-antigens. In contrast, K5 and K6 antisera did not react with the K2-antigen. After absorbtion of the K2 antiserum with cells of strains HG 1690 (K5) and HG 1691 (K6) cross-reactivity was no longer present. We propose these novel serotypes to be designated: K4 (ATCC 49417), K5 (HG 1960) and K6 (HG 1691).

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