Porphyromonas gulae, a gram-negative black-pigmented anaerobe, is a pathogen for periodontitis in dogs. An approximately 41-kDa fimbrial subunit protein (FimA) encoded by fimA is regarded as associated with periodontitis. In the present study, the fimA genes of 17 P. gulae strains were sequenced, and classified into two major types. The generation of phylogenetic trees based on the deduced amino acid sequence of FimA of P. gulae strains along with sequences from several strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis, a major cause of human periodontitis, revealed that the two types of FimA (types A and B) of P. gulae were similar to type I FimA and types II and III FimA of P. gingivalis, respectively. A PCR system for classification was established based on differences in the nucleotide sequences of the fimA genes. Analysis of 115 P. gulae-positive oral swab specimens from dogs revealed that 42.6%, 22.6%, and 26.1% of them contained type A, type B, and both type A and B fimA genes, respectively. Experiments with a mouse abscess model demonstrated that the strains with type B fimA caused significantly greater systemic inflammation than those with type A. These results suggest that the FimA proteins of P. gulae are diverse with two major types and that strains with type B fimA could be more virulent.
- Porphyromonas gulae
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