Adhesion-related interactions of Actinomyces and Streptococcus biofilm bacteria

University dissertation from Umeå : Odontologi

Abstract: Adhesion of bacteria is a key event in biofilm formation and is mediated by bacterial adhesins recognising host or bacterial partner receptors. In oral biofilm formation, primary Actinomyces and Streptococcus colonizers adhere to salivary pellicle proteins such as proline-rich proteins (PRPs) as well as to mucosal surfaces. Subsequently, Actinomyces and Streptococcus strains and other bacteria, such as Veillonella, Fusobacterium and Porphyromonas, adhere to each other. The nature of this community is highly important for the health or disease status, although specific pathogenic species may also have been implicated.The aim of this thesis was to study key players in early oral colonisation, Actinomyces and Streptococcus species, and more specifically the nature of their adhesins and ligands. A further aim was to study the function of the salivary PRP proteins and an innate peptide derived thereof on bacterial adhesion, proliferation and regulation of pH, i.e. key factors in biofilm formation.In paper I and II, adhesion, proliferation and pH affecting features of the RGRPQ (arginine-glycine-arginine-proline-glutamine) peptide, derived from PRP-1, were demonstrated. By use of an alanine-scan (I), motifs for adhesion inhibition and desorption of Actinomyces naeslundii, and proliferation stimulation, ammonia production and inhibition of sucrose induced pH drop by Streptococcus gordonii were indicated. The RGRPQ peptide also stimulated S. gordonii colonisation in vivo. In paper II, a more sophisticated quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) study, using statistical molecular design (SMD) and multivariate modelling (partial least squares projections to latent structures, PLS), further narrowed down the RGRPQ peptide motifs. The R and Q amino acids were crucial for activity. For proliferation a hydrophobic and large size third position amino acid was crucial, while adhesion inhibition and desorption needed a small hydrophilic second position amino acid. All functions depended on a low polarity hydrophobic fourth position. Accordingly, activities could be optimized separately, with decreased function in the others.In paper III and IV, focus was on the bacterial adhesins and their binding epitopes. The genes for FimA major subunit proteins of type-2 fimbriae were sequenced from A. naeslundii genospecies 1 and 2 and Actinomyces odontolyticus, each with unique carbohydrate binding specificities (III). Three major subtypes of FimA proteins were found that correlated with binding specificity, including a novel fimA gene in A. odontolyticus. All subtypes contained a pilin, LPXTG and E box motif. In paper IV, multiple PRP binding patterns for Actinomyces and Streptococcus strains were mapped using a hybrid peptide construct. The two most deviating binding groups deviated in type-1 fimbriae mediated binding to milk and saliva protein ligands.In conclusion, differences in bacterial adhesins and their ability to utilise salivary proteins may render bacteria tropism for different niches. Peptides derived from protein receptors, such as RGRPQ, may be important modulators of biofilm formation, giving commensal bacteria a competitive edge in the bacterial community.