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Crawling motility of Treponema denticola modulated by outer sheath protein
Microbiology and Immunology  (IF1.955),  Pub Date : 2021-09-09, DOI: 10.1111/1348-0421.12940
Eitoyo Kokubu, Yuichiro Kikuchi, Kazuko Okamoto-Shibayama, Shuichi Nakamura, Kazuyuki Ishihara

Treponema denticola, a helically shaped motile microorganism, is a major pathogen of chronic periodontitis. Major surface protein (Msp) and dentilisin are virulence factors of T. denticola that are located on the outer sheath. The motility of T. denticola is deeply involved in colonization on and invasion into the host tissue. The outer sheath is located at the interface between the environment and T. denticola, and its components may also contribute to its motility via interaction to the materials outside of the cells. We aimed to clarify whether Msp or dentilisin contributes to the motility of T. denticola on solid surfaces, termed as crawling, by investigating their effects using Msp-deficient and dentilisin-deficient T. denticola strains. Motility was analyzed by measuring the colony size in agar plates and velocity was analyzed using dark-field microscopy. The colony area of the mutant strains was smaller than that of the wild-type strain. The crawling velocity of the mutant strains was lower than that of the wild-type strain, with the lowest velocity observed in the dentilisin-deficient strain. Additionally, the ratio of the crawling distance by one revolution to the protoplasmic cylinder pitch (an indicator of the crawling efficiency) in the dentilisin mutant was significantly lower than that in the wild type strain and the Msp mutant. Altogether, these results indicated that dentilisin facilitates the crawling-dependent surface spreading of T. denticola.