• Fusobacterium nucleatum;
  • Coaggregation;
  • Attachment


Fusobacterium nucleatum is a common oral anaerobe associated with gingivitis, periodontal disease and preterm deliveries. Coaggregation among oral bacteria is considered to be a significant factor in dental plaque development. Adhesion to host cells was suggested to be important for the F. nucleatum virulence associated with oral inflammation and with preterm births. An uncharacterized fusobacterial galactose inhibitible adhesin mediates coaggregation of F. nucleatum 12230 and F. nucleatum PK1594 with the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. This adhesin is also involved with the attachment of both fusobacterial strains to host cells. However, it has been suggested that additional unidentified fusobacterial adhesins are involved in F. nucleatum virulence associated with preterm births. In this study, a fluorescence-based high throughput sensitive and reproducible method was developed for measuring bacterial coaggregation and bacterial attachment to mammalian cells. Using this method we found that coaggregation of F. nucleatum 4H with P. gingivalis and its attachment to murine macrophages is less inhibitible by galactose than that of F. nucleatum PK1594. These findings suggest that F. nucleatum 4H can serve as a model organism for identifying nongalactose inhibitible F. nucleatum adhesins considered to be involved in fusobacterial attachment to mammalian cells.