Dense fimbrial meshwork enhances Porphyromonas gingivalis adhesiveness: A scanning electron microscopic study

Hirohisa Hongo, H. Takano, M. Morita

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Background and Objective: The aim of this study was to determine how the fimbriae of Porphyromonas gingivalis function in plaque formation. Material and Methods: We used scanning electron microscopy to examine aggregates and hemaggregates of fimbria-rich ATCC33277 (parent) and fimbra-poor OZ6301C (pgmA-knockout, mutant) strains of P. gingivalis. We also assessed the hemagglutination activity of the two strains as an indicator of P. gingivalis adhesiveness. Results: Aggregates of P. gingivalis were composed of bacterial chains and clusters. Rich fimbriae projecting from cells of the parent strain tended to bunch and form a dense meshwork among bacterial cells. In contrast, cells of the mutant strain projected fewer fimbriae and the meshwork was looser. Hemaggregates including cells of the parent strain contained a detached, dense fimbrial meshwork that adhered to erythrocytes. Hemaggregates comprising cells of the mutant strain included bacterial chains and clusters that adhered to erythrocytes by shorter fimbriae than those of the parent strain. The hemagglutination titer of the parent strain was 10-fold higher than that of the mutant strain, although the number of fimbriae per cell of the parent strain was only double that of the mutant strain. Conclusion: The results indicate that P. gingivalis adhesiveness is prominently enhanced by the dense fimbrial meshwork. Thus, the virulence of P. gingivalis is increased by the presence of rich fimbriae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-118
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2007



  • Fimbriae
  • Meshwork
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis
  • Scanning electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics

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