Actinomyces naeslundii displays variant fimP and fimA fimbrial subunit genes corresponding to different types of acidic proline-rich protein and beta-linked galactosamine binding specificity

Infect Immun. 1998 Sep;66(9):4403-10. doi: 10.1128/IAI.66.9.4403-4410.1998.


Actinomyces naeslundii genospecies 1 and 2 bind to acidic proline-rich proteins (APRPs) and statherin via type 1 fimbriae and to beta-linked galactosamine (GalNAcbeta) structures via type 2 fimbriae. In addition, A. naeslundii displays two types of binding specificity for both APRPs-statherin and GalNAcbeta, while Actinomyces odontolyticus binds to unknown structures. To study the molecular basis for these binding specificities, DNA fragments spanning the entire or central portions of fimP (type 1) and fimA (type 2) fimbrial subunit genes were amplified by PCR from strains of genospecies 1 and 2 and hybridized with DNA from two independent collections of oral Actinomyces isolates. Isolates of genospecies 1 and 2 and A. odontolyticus, but no other Actinomyces species, were positive for hybridization with fimP and fimA full-length probes irrespective of binding to APRPs and statherin, GalNAcbeta, or unknown structures. Isolates of genospecies 1 and 2, with deviating patterns of GalNAcbeta1-3Galalpha-O-ethyl-inhibitable coaggregation with Streptococcus oralis Ss34 and MPB1, were distinguished by a fimA central probe from genospecies 1 and 2, respectively. Furthermore, isolates of genospecies 1 and 2 displaying preferential binding to APRPs over statherin were positive with a fimP central probe, while a genospecies 2 strain with the opposite binding preference was not. The sequences of fimP and fimA central gene segments were highly conserved among isolates with the same, but diversified between those with a variant, binding specificity. In conclusion, A. naeslundii exhibits variant fimP and fimA genes corresponding to diverse APRP and GalNAcbeta specificities, respectively, while A. odontolyticus has a genetically related but distinct adhesin binding specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinomyces / genetics*
  • Actinomyces / metabolism
  • Adhesins, Bacterial / genetics
  • Adhesins, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Fimbriae Proteins*
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Galactosamine / metabolism*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Proline / metabolism*
  • Proline-Rich Protein Domains


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Peptides
  • fimbrillin
  • Fimbriae Proteins
  • Galactosamine
  • Proline