Homotypic biofilm structure ofPorphyromonas gingivalisis affected by FimA type variations

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Abstract

Introduction:

Porphyromonas gingivalis is a periodontal pathogen whose long fimbriae (FimA) are classified into six genotypes (types I-V and Ib) based on the diversity of the fimA genes. FimA variations were previously shown to be related to the onset and development of adult periodontitis in a general population, while FimA were recently found to be critical mediators of initial biofilm formation. However, it is unclear if FimA variations have effects on biofilm features. Here, we compare the characteristic structures of homotypic biofilms developed by P. gingivalis strains with different FimA types.

Methods:

Biofilms were formed on saliva-coated glass bottom wells in phosphate-buffered saline and their structures were analysed using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Furthermore, the biovolumes of the biofilms were quantified with a three-dimensional fluorophotometric method.

Results:

Biofilm structures formed by the six representative FimA-type strains apparently differed. Type I and Ib P. gingivalis formed biofilms with a dense basal monolayer and dispersed microcolonies, whereas those formed by types II, III and IV strains had markedly luxuriant biofilms filled with widely clumped and tall colonies, and their biovolumes were significantly greater than those of types I and Ib. These characteristic features were confirmed to be closely related to FimA type in assays that utilized fimA-substituted mutants from type I to II and those from type II to I.

Conclusion:

Our results suggest that FimA variations have effects on the structures of biofilms formed by P. gingivalis, which may be an important factor in the pathogenesis of periodontitis.

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