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Annu Rev Microbiol. 1996;50:513-52.

Mechanisms of adhesion by oral bacteria.

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Laboratory of Microbial Ecology, National Institute of Dental Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Adherence to a surface is a key element for colonization of the human oral cavity by the more than 500 bacterial taxa recorded from oral samples. Three surfaces are available: teeth, epithelial mucosa, and the nascent surface created as each new bacterial cell binds to existing dental plaque. Oral bacteria exhibit specificity for their respective colonization sites. Such specificity is directed by adhesin-receptor cognate pairs on genetically distinct cells. Colonization is successful when adherent cells grow and metabolically participate in the oral bacterial community. The potential roles of adherence-relevant molecules are discussed in the context of the dynamic nature of the oral econiche.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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