Fusobacterium nucleatum: a commensal-turned pathogen

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Feb;23:141-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2014.11.013. Epub 2015 Jan 8.


Fusobacterium nucleatum is an anaerobic oral commensal and a periodontal pathogen associated with a wide spectrum of human diseases. This article reviews its implication in adverse pregnancy outcomes (chorioamnionitis, preterm birth, stillbirth, neonatal sepsis, preeclampsia), GI disorders (colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, appendicitis), cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory tract infections, Lemierre's syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. The virulence mechanisms involved in the diseases are discussed, with emphasis on its colonization, systemic dissemination, and induction of host inflammatory and tumorigenic responses. The FadA adhesin/invasin conserved in F. nucleatum is a key virulence factor and a potential diagnostic marker for F. nucleatum-associated diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria, Anaerobic / growth & development*
  • Bacteria, Anaerobic / pathogenicity
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Female
  • Fusobacterium Infections / complications*
  • Fusobacterium Infections / pathology*
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / growth & development*
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / microbiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / pathology
  • Virulence
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism*


  • Virulence Factors