Differential Virulence of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans Serotypes Explained by Exoproteome Heterogeneity

Yanyan Fu, Sandra Maaβ, Francis M Cavallo, Anne de Jong, Erwin Raangs, Johanna Westra, Girbe Buist, Dörte Becher, Jan Maarten van Dijl*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

1 Citaat (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) is a Gram-negative bacterial pathogen associated with periodontitis and nonoral diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer´s disease. Aa isolates with the serotypes a, b, and c are globally most prevalent. Importantly, isolates displaying these serotypes have different clinical presentations. While serotype b isolates are predominant in severe periodontitis, serotypes a and c are generally encountered in mild periodontitis or healthy individuals. It is currently unknown how these differences are reflected in the overall secretion of virulence factors. Therefore, this study was aimed at a comparative analysis of exoproteomes from different clinical Aa isolates with serotypes a, b, or c by mass spectrometry, and a subsequent correlation of the recorded exoproteome profiles with virulence. Overall, we identified 425 extracellular proteins. Significant differences in the exoproteome composition of isolates with different serotypes were observed in terms of protein identification and abundance. In particular, serotype a isolates presented more extracellular proteins than serotype b or c isolates. These differences are mirrored in their virulence in infection models based on human salivary gland epithelial cells and neutrophils. Remarkably, serotype a isolates displayed stronger adhesive capabilities and induced more lysis of epithelial cells and neutrophils than serotype b or c isolates. Conversely, serotype c isolates showed relatively low leukotoxicity, while provoking NETosis to similar extents as serotype a and b isolates. Altogether, we conclude that the differential virulence presentation by Aa isolates with the dominant serotypes a, b, or c can be explained by their exoproteome heterogeneity. IMPORTANCE Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease that causes progressive destruction of alveolar bone and supporting tissues around the teeth, ultimately resulting in tooth loss. The bacterium Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) is a prevalent causative agent of periodontitis, but this oral pathogen is also associated with serious extraoral diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. Clinical Aa isolates are usually distinguished by serotyping, because of known serotype-specific differences in virulence. Aa with serotype b is associated with aggressive forms of periodontitis, while isolates with serotypes a or c are usually encountered in cases of mild periodontitis or healthy individuals. The molecular basis for these differences in virulence was so far unknown. In the present study, we pinpoint serotype-specific differences in virulence factor production by clinical Aa isolates. We consider these findings important, because they provide new leads for future preventive or therapeutic approaches to fight periodontitis and associated morbidities.

Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftMicrobiology Spectrum
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
Vroegere onlinedatum21-dec.-2022
StatusPublished - feb.-2023

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