Invasion of dentinal tubules by oral streptococci is associated with collagen recognition mediated by the antigen I/II family of polypeptides
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Cell surface proteins SspA and SspB in Streptococcus gordonii and SpaP in Streptococcus mutans are members of the antigen I/II family of polypeptides produced by oral streptococci. These proteins are adhesins and mediate species-specific binding of cells to a variety of host and bacterial receptors. Here we show that antigen I/II polypeptides are involved in the attachment of oral streptococci to collagen and that they also determine the ability of these bacteria to invade human root dentinal tubules. Wild-type S. gordonii DL1 (Challis) cells showed heavy invasion of tubules to a depth of approximately 200 microm, whereas the abilities of cells of isogenic mutant strains OB220 (sspA) and OB219 (sspA sspB) to invade were 50 and >90% reduced, respectively. Likewise, wild-type S. mutans NG8 cells invaded dentinal tubules, whereas cells of isogenic mutant strain 834 (spaP) did not. The invasive abilities of strains OB220 and OB219 were restored by heterologous expression of S. mutans SpaP polypeptide in these strains. The extents of tubule invasion by various wild-type and mutant strains correlated with their levels of adhesion to type I collagen, a major component of dentin. Furthermore, S. gordonii DL1 cells exhibited a growth response to collagen by forming long chains. This was not shown by ssp mutants but was restored by the expression of SpaP in these cells. The production of SspA polypeptide by S. gordonii DL1, but not production of SspB polypeptide by strain OB220 (sspA), was enhanced in the presence of collagen. These results are the first to demonstrate that antigen I/II family polypeptides bind collagen and mediate a morphological growth response of streptococci to collagen. These antigen I/II polypeptide activities are critical for intratubular growth of streptococci and thus for establishment of endodontic infections.
Infection and Immunity
© 1997 American Society for Microbiology. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Dentistry not elsewhere classified