Proteomics of Fusobacterium nucleatum within a model developing oral microbial community

Microbiologyopen. 2014 Oct;3(5):729-51. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.204. Epub 2014 Aug 25.


Fusobacterium nucleatum is a common oral organism that can provide adhesive and metabolic support to developing periodontal bacterial communities. It is within the context of these communities that disease occurs. We have previously reported whole cell proteomics analyses of Porphyromonas gingivalis and Streptococcus gordonii in early-stage communities with each other and with F. nucleatum, modeled using 18 h pellets. Here, we report the adaptation of F. nucleatum to the same experimental conditions as measured by differential protein expression. About 1210 F. nucleatum proteins were detected in single species F. nucleatum control samples, 1192 in communities with P. gingivalis, 1224 with S. gordonii, and 1135 with all three species. Quantitative comparisons among the proteomes revealed important changes in all mixed samples with distinct responses to P. gingivalis or S. gordonii alone and in combination. The results were inspected manually and an ontology analysis conducted using DAVID (Database for annotation, visualization, and integrated discovery). Extensive changes were detected in energy metabolism. All multispecies comparisons showed reductions in amino acid fermentation and a shift toward butanoate as a metabolic byproduct, although the two organism model community with S. gordonii showed increases in alanine, threonine, methionine, and cysteine pathways, and in the three species samples there were increases in lysine and methionine. The communities with P. gingivalis or all three organisms showed reduced glycolysis proteins, but F. nucleatum paired with S. gordonii displayed increased glycolysis/gluconeogenesis proteins. The S. gordonii containing two organism model also showed increases in the ethanolamine pathway while the three species sample showed decreases relative to the F. nucleatum single organism control. All of the nascent model communities displayed reduced translation, lipopolysaccharide, and cell wall biosynthesis, DNA replication and DNA repair.

Keywords: Biofilm; Fusobacterium nucleatum; microbial proteomics; microbiome; oral microbial ecology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biodiversity
  • Fusobacterium Infections / microbiology*
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / classification
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / genetics*
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / isolation & purification
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mouth / microbiology
  • Mouth Diseases / microbiology*
  • Proteomics*


  • Bacterial Proteins