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Stick to Your Gums: Mechanisms of Oral Microbial Adherence

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nicholas JakubovicsORCiD


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Studies on the adherence properties of oral bacteria have been a major focus in microbiology research for several decades. The ability of bacteria to adhere to the variety of surfaces present in the oral cavity, and to become integrated within the resident microbial communities, confers growth and survival properties. Molecular analyses have revealed several families of Gram-positive bacterial surface proteins, including serine-rich repeat, antigen I/II, and pilus families, that mediate adherence to a variety of salivary and oral bacterial receptors. In Gram-negative bacteria, pili, auto-transporters, and extracellular matrix-binding proteins provide components for host tissue recognition and building of complex microbial communities. Future studies will reveal in greater detail the binding pockets for these adhesin families and their receptors. This information will be crucial for the development of new inhibitors or vaccines that target the functional regions of bacterial proteins that are involved in colonization and pathogenesis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nobbs AH, Jenkinson HF, Jakubovics NS

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Dental Research

Year: 2011

Volume: 90

Issue: 11

Pages: 1271-1278

Print publication date: 18/02/2011

ISSN (print): 0022-0345

ISSN (electronic): 1544-0591



DOI: 10.1177/0022034511399096