Binding of the periodontal pathogen Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans to extracellular matrix proteins

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The interaction of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, an important pathogen implicated in juvenile and adult periodontitis, with collagenous and noncollagenous proteins of the extracellular matrix was investigated. A. actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 465 bound to immobilized type I, II, III and V but not type IV collagen. Binding to immobilized collagen was saturable and concentration dependent. This interaction could not be inhibited by soluble collagen, suggesting that binding was dependent on a specific collagen conformation. Bacteria grown anaerobically exhibited decreased collagen-binding activity as compared with organisms grown aerobically. Bacterial outer membrane proteins were essential for binding to collagen. A. actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 465 also bound to immobilized fibronectin. In contrast, bacteria did not bind to fibrinogen, bone sialoprotein, α2-HS glycoprotein or albumin. The mechanism of the interaction with fibronectin was more complex, possibly involving both protein and nonproteinaceous components. The majority of other A. actinomycetemcomitans strains tested bound to extracellular matrix proteins in a manner similar to SUNY 465 but with minor variation. These results demonstrate that A. actinomycetemcomitans binds to proteins found in connective tissue. The interaction with extracellular matrix proteins may contribute to the virulence of this pathogen at oral and extraoral sites of infection.

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