Characterisation of Fusobacterium nucleatum biofilms and cyclic di-nucleotide production

Muchová, Mária (2020). Characterisation of Fusobacterium nucleatum biofilms and cyclic di-nucleotide production. University of Birmingham. M.Sc.

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Fusobacterium nucleatum is an anaerobic oral species, a key player in the formation of periodontal disease-associated dental plaque, also known as dental biofilm. Oral commensals and pathogens residing in the dental biofilm communicate using multiple systems and molecules, one type being the secondary messengers called cyclic di-nucleotides (CDNs). These small molecules control processes such as motility, secretion and adhesion, which are important for biofilm assembly and maturation. The importance of CDNs in biofilm formation and virulence has been studied in true periodontal pathogens, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis. Yet, the role of CDNs in the biofilm formation of F. nucleatum, which is also a causative agent in systemic diseases, remains elusive.

This thesis analysed the formation of mono-species biofilms of F. nucletaum subspecies and significant differences among the subspecies were revealed. The interaction of two F. nucleatum ssp. nucleatum strains was studied in a periodontitis-related multi-species biofilm model. The genes involved in the synthesis and hydrolysis of CDNs were found to be downregulated overtime in planktonic cultures. Additionally, the intracellular CDN concentration in bacteria grown on agar plates was found to differ significantly between subspecies. Low levels of CDNs were detected in mono-species biofilms.

Our findings established a base for further research into CDNs, their role in virulence and their potential as therapeutic targets.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Sc.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Sc.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
School or Department: School of Dentistry
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
R Medicine > RK Dentistry


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