Porphyromonas gulae, an animal periodontal pathogen, possess fimbriae classified into three genotypes (A-C) based on the diversity of fimA genes encoding FimA. Accumulating evidence suggests that P. gulae strains with type C fimbriae are more virulent as compared to those with other types. The ability of these organisms to adhere to and invade gingival epithelial cells has yet to be examined. P. gulae showed the greatest levels of adhesion and invasion at a multiplicity of infection of 100 for 90 min. P. gulae type C and some type B strains invaded gingival epithelial cells at significantly greater levels than the other strains, at the same level of efficiency as P. gingivalis with type II fimbriae. Adhesion and invasion of gingival epithelial cells by P. gulae were inhibited by cytochalasin D and sodium azide, indicating the requirements of actin polymerization and energy metabolism for those activities. Invasion within gingival epithelial cells was blocked by staurosporine, whereas those inhibitors showed little effects on adhesion, while nocodazole and cycloheximide had negligible effects on either adhesion or invasion. P. gulae proteases were found to be essential for adhesion and invasion of gingival epithelial cells, while its DNA and RNA, and protein synthesis were unnecessary for those activities. Additionally, α5β1 integrin antibodies significantly inhibited adhesion and invasion by P. gulae. This is the first report to characterize P. gulae adhesion and invasion of human gingival epithelial cells.
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