Lysogeny is common among strains of the periodontal pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. Since lysogenic induction is known to result in the increased synthesis and release of bacterial toxins from lysogens, it would be important to elucidate the conditions under which induction of these bacteria may occur. Co-cultures of A. actinomycetemcomitans strains (either lysogenic or non-lysogenic) and human cells (either gingival fibroblasts or pharyngeal epithelial cells) were prepared. Following incubation, bacteriophage titers of up to 6.2 × 107 pfu/ml were detected in the cell-free, spent culture media from the co-cultures of the lysogenic A. actinomycetemcomitans strains and the fibroblasts. Little (maximum of 2 × 100 pfu/ml) or no titers of phage could be detected in the mono-cultures of the lysogenic A. actinomycetemcomitans strains alone. In contrast, no phage were detectable in the cell-free spent culture media of the lysogens cocultured with the epithelial cells. Futhermore, co-culture of the A. actinomycetemcomitans lysogens with the fibroblasts resulted in enhanced release of the A. actinomycetemcomitans leukotoxin into the culture medium, in comparison with the spent culture media from mono-cultures of the lysogens alone. These results are consistent with the concept that interaction with fibroblasts may mediate prophage induction in lysogenic strains of A. actinomycetemcomitans, and that leukotoxin release is greatly augmented following induction of the lysogens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases
- Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans