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J Periodontol. 1990 Feb;61(2):75-80.

Molecular genetic analysis of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans epidemiology.

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Department of Periodontology, State University of New York, Buffalo.


Research over the past decade has identified many of the microorganisms involved in the etiology of human periodontitis such as Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. Efforts are now directed toward defining these species' role in the pathogenic process. Since microbial colonization of host tissues is a key first step in developing a bacterial infection, determining the source of the periodontal pathogens and their route of transmission is likely to be crucial in formulating preventive strategies. Recently, a technique from molecular biology, restriction endonuclease analysis, has been used to track bacterial infections. In the present study, this method was used to investigate the epidemiology of A. actinomycetemcomitans infection. One hundred twenty-four human subgingival plaque isolates of A. actinomycetemcomitans were examined including bacterial strains from the United States, Korea, and Norway as well as 15 strains from cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis) and spider monkeys (Macaca iris) and 4 reference strains. The genomic DNA from each strain was purified, digested with each of 16 restriction endonucleases, and the DNA digests were resolved by electrophoresis. The resulting patterns of DNA fragments were compared and also correlated with the A. actinomycetemcomitans serotype determined using serotype-specific antisera in immunofluorescence. Human isolates of A. actinomycetemcomitans even from disparate geographic sources showed little diversity by restriction endonuclease analysis. Three major restriction patterns were found. Restriction pattern I was common to all 20 of the serotype a isolates, restriction pattern II was associated with 58% of the 73 serotype b isolates examined, while restriction pattern III was associated with the remaining serotype b strains and with all 15 of the serotype c strains.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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