Ultrastructure and enzyme activities of a virulent and an avirulent variant of Bacteroides gingivalis W50

Phillip Marsh*, Ailsa S. McKee, Ann S. McDermid, A. Barry Dowsett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ultrastructure and enzyme activity of an avirulent, weakly-pigmenting, colonial variant (W50/BE1) was compared with that of the highly-virulent parent strain, Bacteroides gingivalis W50, in an attempt to identify significant virulence factors. Electron microscopy of thin sections of the organisms showed strain W50 to possess a 3-4-fold thicker layer of material external to the outer membrane. No significant differences between the strains were found with respect to collagen- or hyaluronic acid-breakdown activities at assay pH 7.5. However, cultures of strain W50 had over 3-fold more trypsin-like activity (P < 0.01) than the avirulent variant. These results, when taken with other data, suggest that a thick external layer on the cell surface together with high trypsin-like activity might be important virulence factors of B. gingivalis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-185
Number of pages5
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Volume59
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1989

Keywords

  • Bacteroides gingivalis
  • Trypsin
  • Ultrastructure
  • Virulence

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