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FEBS Lett. 1998 Jan 30;422(2):205-8.

Structures involved in the interaction of Porphyromonas gingivalis fimbriae and human lactoferrin.

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Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, 14214, USA.


The ability of laboratory and clinical strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis to bind lactoferrin has been assessed (FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology, 1996, 14, 135-143). Relative binding for P. gingivalis to lactoferrin varies among strains from 3.78 to 26.62%. We also observed that fimbriated strains of P. gingivalis bind more strongly to lactoferrin as compared to nonfimbriated strains of P. gingivalis. This observation led us to study fimbrial interaction with human lactoferrin and the fine structure of these interactions. Binding of iodinated purified fimbriae was studied using an overlay assay. Iodinated fimbriae bind specifically and strongly to human lactoferrin. When various sugars were used to inhibit binding, only N-acetylgalactosamine and fucose were inhibitory. To confirm further that oligosaccharide of lactoferrin is involved in the interaction, lactoferrin was chemically deglycosylated, and fimbriae failed to bind deglycosylated lactoferrin. Antifimbriae, as well as four antipeptide antibodies against different regions of the P. gingivalis fimbrillin, were used to inhibit the interaction. Antipeptide E, directed against amino acids 81-98 (AAGLIMTAEPKTIVLKAG-C), was found to be the most effective inhibitor for the lactoferrin-fimbriae interaction. These results suggest that the binding of P. gingivalis cells to lactoferrin is lectin like, directed to a oligosaccharide of lactoferrin. Furthermore, these studies suggest that the region of fimbriae that binds to lactoferrin is the N-terminus of the molecule. It is likely that binding of lactoferrin to P. gingivalis cells results in antimicrobial activity directed against these cells by virtue of its ability to deprive the bacterial cell of needed iron.

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