Chapter 7 : Coaggregation and Distance-Critical Communication

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Interactions between and among bacterial species within a microcommunity occur in an environment that is distinct from the surrounding space. Interactions among species within one community are likely to be distinct from those within a different community. The context of mixed-species communities discussed in this chapter is primarily the human oral cavity, and the chapter focuses on the concept of distance-critical communication and its role in mediating commensalism as well as pathogenesis. The exhibition of extensive coaggregation partnerships by oral plaque bacteria suggests that distance-critical communication typically occurs within the tightly packed microcommunities known to characterize human dental plaque. Coaggregates formed among , butyrate-oxidizing , and acetate-oxidizing , indicating that coaggregations are relevant to interspecies hydrogen transfer among several syntrophic methanogenic consortia. Coaggregation and adhesion to host cells are primary characteristics of all oral fusobacteria. Fusobacteria coaggregate with all early and late oral colonizers. In place of producing strong toxins and enzymes, fusobacteria enhance their virulence functions through their ability to interact with other cell types. Many oral streptococci produce IgA1 proteases, which assist the community in evading the principal mediator of adaptive immunity.

Citation: Kolenbrander P, Jakubovics N, Chalmers N, Bachrach G. 2007. Coaggregation and Distance-Critical Communication, p 89-100. In Brogden K, Minion F, Cornick N, Stanton T, Zhang Q, Nolan L, Wannemuehler M (ed), Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815851.ch7

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Streptococcus oralis
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Image of FIGURE 1

Visual assay for coaggregation ( ). Homogeneous suspensions of cell types A and B are shown before mixing (tubes 1 and 2, respectively) and immediately after the mixing of equal volumes (tube 3). Within seconds, coaggregates settle to the bottom of the tube, leaving a clear supernatant (tube 4). The addition of a sugar inhibitor reverses the interaction (tube 5).

Citation: Kolenbrander P, Jakubovics N, Chalmers N, Bachrach G. 2007. Coaggregation and Distance-Critical Communication, p 89-100. In Brogden K, Minion F, Cornick N, Stanton T, Zhang Q, Nolan L, Wannemuehler M (ed), Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815851.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 2

Diffusion characteristics of small-molecule signals in open (A) and closed (B) systems. (A) In a flowing system, the distance-critical induction of the amylase promoter ( transcriptional fusion) by a diffusible small-molecule signal requires the juxtaposition of PK1910 and DL1(p). In a flow cell, the diffusible signal is removed from the system, but its concentration is highest in the immediate vicinity of the signal-producing species, PK1910. (B) In a closed system, such as a culture flask or a beaker containing a dialysis bag with the signal-producing species inside, the species do not need to be juxtaposed. The diffusible signal accumulates inside the closed vessel, and interspecies communication occurs without cell-cell contact. The right two panels show flow cytometric analysis of -directed GFP expression. No fluorescence is shown in the right-hand panel (empty box R1), when the dialysis tubing contains sterile medium, whereas the left-hand panel (partially filled box R1), when the signal-producing species is inside the dialysis tubing, shows increased fluorescence. Fluorescence (FL1-Height) is graphed logarithmically on the axis. Forward scatter ( axis) is indicative of particle size.

Citation: Kolenbrander P, Jakubovics N, Chalmers N, Bachrach G. 2007. Coaggregation and Distance-Critical Communication, p 89-100. In Brogden K, Minion F, Cornick N, Stanton T, Zhang Q, Nolan L, Wannemuehler M (ed), Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815851.ch7
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