Predation of oral pathogens by Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus 109J


Daniel Kadouri, Department of Oral Biology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ 07101, USA Tel.: +1 973 972 7401; fax: +1 973 972 0045; E-mail:


Periodontal diseases are multifactorial infections elicited by a complex of primarily gram-negative bacteria that interact with host tissues and lead to the destruction of the periodontal structures. Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is a gram-negative bacterium that preys upon other gram-negative bacteria. It was previously shown that B. bacteriovorus has an ability to attack and remove surface-attached bacteria or biofilms. In this study, we examined the host specificity of B. bacteriovorus strain 109J and its ability to prey on oral pathogens associated with periodontitis, including; Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Eikenella corrodens, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Prevotella intermedia, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Tannerella forsythia. We further demonstrated that B. bacteriovorus 109J has an ability to remove biofilms of Ei. corrodens as well as biofilms composed of A. actinomycetemcomitans. Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus was able to remove A. actinomycetemcomitans biofilms developed on hydroxyapatite surfaces and in the presence of saliva, as well as to detach metabolically inactive biofilms. Experiments aimed at enhancing the biofilm removal aptitude of B. bacteriovorus with the aid of extracellular-polymeric-substance-degrading enzymes demonstrated that proteinase-K inhibits predation. However, treating A. actinomycetemcomitans biofilms with DspB, a poly-N-acetylglucosamine (PGA) -hydrolysing enzyme, increased biofilm removal. Increased biofilm removal was also recorded when A. actinomycetemcomitans PGA-defective mutants were used as host cells, suggesting that PGA degradation could enhance the removal of A. actinomycetemcomitans biofilm by B. bacteriovorus.