Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans may utilize either actin-dependent or actin-independent mechanisms of invasion

Authors

  • C. A. Brissette,

    1. Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, College of Medicine and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, USA
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  • P. M. Fives-Taylor

    1. Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, College of Medicine and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, USA
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P. M. Fives-Taylor, Stafford Hall, Department of Microbiology, and Molecular Genetics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA

Abstract

Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans is an important pathogen implicated in juvenile and adult periodontal diseases. An important virulence factor of A. actinomycetemcomitans is the ability to invade human oral epithelial cells. A clinical isolate, A. actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 465, has previously been shown to enter epithelial cells by an actin-dependent mechanism. The internalized bacteria are surrounded by an actin halo upon entry. These data are consistent with the mode of entry associated with many enteric pathogens. We tested the effects of cytochalasin D, an inhibitor of the actin microfilament network, on bacterial entry to determine whether this mode of entry was common to other A. actinomycetemcomitans clinical isolates. Cytochalasin D was added prior to infection. A. actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 523 and A. actinomycetemcomitans 4065 exhibited enhanced ability to enter epithelial cells in the presence of cytochalasin D. Immunofluorescent labeling of bacteria and host cell actin confirmed that actin was not being mobilized by the entry of A. actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 523. Inhibitors of receptor-mediated endocytosis inhibited invasion of A. actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 523 and A. actinomycetemcomitans 4065. Microtubule effectors did not inhibit invasion of A. actinomycetemcomitans. A. actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 523, but not A. actinomycetemcomitans 4065, was deficient in exit from epithelial cells as determined by the absence of organisms in the assay medium. These data suggest that A. actinomycetemcomitans strains utilize at least two distinct mechanisms for entry into epithelial cells, and that A. actinomycetemcomitans SUNY 523 may be defective in exit and cell-to-cell spread.

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