Chapter 9 : the Role of Surface Structures in Virulence and Biofilm Development

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Studies have shown that surface structures play an important role in the life cycle of the oral anaerobe. In particular, cysteine proteases, fimbriae, membrane vesicles (MVs), and surface polysaccharides have been of primary interest. is a gram-negative obligate anaerobe that persists in the subgingival crevice of the oral cavity. The chapter provides a review of molecular genetic studies on cysteine proteases, fimbriae, MVs, and surface polysaccharides. It discusses the use of genome sequence information in deciphering the role of surface structures in biofilm development and pathogenicity. The high proteolytic activity of and its role in nutrient acquisition and virulence are discussed. Surface polysaccharides are key virulence factors of , as well as of many other gram-negative pathogens. The switch from being a benign member of the oral biofilm to being a proliferating virulent pathogen is central to the pathogenicity of this anaerobe, and changes in expression of surface structures play an important role in this switch. Expression of these surface structures modulates cell-cell and cell-host interactions and thus biofilm development; hence, MVs, gingipains, fimbriae, and surface polysaccharides play a central role in both virulence and biofilm growth.

Citation: Davey M, Boisvert H, Arndt A. 2011. the Role of Surface Structures in Virulence and Biofilm Development, p 119-134. In Kolenbrander P (ed), Oral Microbial Communities. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817107.ch9
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Electron micrograph of strain 381, showing MV formation. Magnification, ×180,000.

Citation: Davey M, Boisvert H, Arndt A. 2011. the Role of Surface Structures in Virulence and Biofilm Development, p 119-134. In Kolenbrander P (ed), Oral Microbial Communities. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817107.ch9
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Image of FIGURE 2

Electron micrograph of strain 381, showing numerous fimbriae on the surface of the cell. Magnification, ×100,000.

Citation: Davey M, Boisvert H, Arndt A. 2011. the Role of Surface Structures in Virulence and Biofilm Development, p 119-134. In Kolenbrander P (ed), Oral Microbial Communities. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817107.ch9
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