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Identification Of A Treponema Denticola OppA Homologue That Binds Host Proteins Present In The Subgingival Environment

J. Christopher Fenno, Muneaki Tamura, Pauline M. Hannam, Grace W. K. Wong, Roger A. Chan, Barry C. McBride

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ABSTRACT Proteins secreted or exported by Treponema denticolahave been implicated as mediators of specific interactions between the spirochete and subgingival tissues in periodontal diseases. However, limited information is available on the ability of this peptidolytic organism to bind or transport soluble peptides present in the subgingival environment. A prominent 70-kDa protein was isolated from surface extracts of T. denticola ATCC 35405. A clone expressing a portion of the protein was identified in anEscherichia coli expression library of T. denticola DNA. DNA sequence analysis showed that the cloned gene encoded a peptide homologous to OppA, the solute binding protein of an ATP-binding cassette-type peptide transporter involved in peptide uptake and environmental signaling in a wide range of bacteria. Genes encoding OppB, -C, -D, and -F were identified directly downstream ofoppA in T. denticola. OppA was present in representative strains of T. denticola and inTreponema vincentii but was not detected in Treponema pectinovorum or Treponema socranskii. Immunogold electron microscopy suggested that OppA was accessible to proteins at the surface of the spirochete. Native OppA bound soluble plasminogen and fibronectin but did not bind to immobilized substrates or epithelial cells. A T. denticola oppA mutant bound reduced amounts of soluble plasminogen, and plasminogen binding to the parent strain was inhibited by the lysine analog ɛ-aminocaproic acid. Binding of soluble host proteins by OppA may be important both for spirochete-host interactions in the subgingival environment and for uptake of peptide nutrients.