Microbial pathogenesis

Comparative analysis of motility and other properties of Treponema denticola strains.

PMID 27914958


The periodontitis-associated pathogen Treponema denticola is a spirochetal bacterium that swims by rotating its cell body like a corkscrew using periplasmic flagella. We compared physiologic and pathogenic properties, including motility, in four strains of T. denticola. Phase-contrast microscopy showed differential motility between the strains; ATCC 35404 showed the highest motility, followed by ATCC 33521, and the remaining two strains (ATCC 35405 and ATCC 33520) showed the lowest motility. Transmission electron microscopy showed that the low motility strains exhibited extracellular flagellar protrusions resulting from elongated flagella. Treponemal flagellar filaments are composed of three flagellins of FlaB1, FlaB2 and FlaB3. FlaB1 expression was comparable between the strains, whereas FlaB2 expression was lowest in ATCC 35404. FlaB3 expression varied among strains, with ATCC 35405, ATCC 33520, ATCC 33521, and ATCC 35404 showing the highest to lowest expression levels, respectively. Additionally, the low motility strains showed faster electrophoretic mobility of FlaB3, suggesting that posttranslational modifications of these proteins may have varied, because the amino acid sequences of FlaB3 were identical between the strains. These results suggest that inappropriate expression of FlaB2 and FlaB3 caused the unusual elongation of flagella that resulted in decreased motility. Furthermore, the low motility strains grew to higher bacterial density, and showed greater chymotrypsin-like protease activity, and more bacterial cells associated with gingival epithelial cells in comparison with the high motility strains. There may be a relationship between motility and these properties, but the genetic factors underlying this association remain unclear.

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Nα-Benzoyl-DL-arginine 4-nitroanilide hydrochloride, ≥98%
C19H22N6O4 · HCl