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Title: The interaction of Porphyromonas gingivalis with host epithelial cells and its relevance to periodontal disease
Author: Al-Taweel, Firas Bashir Hashim
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 0852
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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Periodontitis is one of the most prevalent bacterial diseases affecting man with up to 90% of the global population affected. Its severe form can lead to the tooth loss in 10-15% of the population worldwide. The disease is caused by a dysbiosis of the local microbiota and one organism that contributes to this alteration in the bacterial population is Prophyromonas gingivalis. This organism possesses a range of virulence factors that appear to contribute to its growth and survival at a periodontal site amongst which is its ability to invade oral epithelial cells. Such an invasion strategy provides a means of evasion of host defence mechanisms, persistence at a site and the opportunity for dissemination to other sites in the mouth. However, previous studies have demonstrated that invasion of the mammalian cells in a population by P. gingivalis is heterogenous, with some cells becoming heavily invaded while others harbour no or only a few bacteria. An understanding of this heterogeneity may throw light on the mechanisms involved and we hypothesised that the phase of the host cell cycle may explain this phenomenon. In an attempt to study the factors influencing P. gingivalis invasion and the cell response to that invasion, a standard antibiotic protection assay was employed and an oral keratinocyte cell line, H357. The results showed that P. gingivalis NCTC 11834 invasion was significantly increased with increasing time of exposure to the cells and the cell density. This may reflect an increased host cell surface area available for bacterial attachment. No effect on invasion of P. gingivalis invasion was observed by the bacterial growth phase, H357 cell passage number or whether cells were pre-incubated with P. gingivalis lipopolysaccharide. Epithelial cells did, however, respond to the presence of P. gingivalis in a number of ways. For example, the mRNA expression of endothelin-1 and urokinase receptor were upregulated with increasing P. gingivalis infection time, suggesting that these proteins could act as inflammatory mediators and possibly as useful markers of the severity of periodontal disease or in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis. iii Secondly, in an attempt to investigate the reason for the observed heterogeneous P. gingivalis invasion of H357 cell populations, the effect of cell cycle phase on P. gingivalis invasion was investigated. H357 cells were synchronized by serum starvation. On re-introduction of serum, characterisation of cell cycle phase distribution was performed by flow cytometry following staining with propidium idodide (PI) or by immunofluorescence using bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), which specifically identifies cells in S-phase. The effect of cell cycle phases on P. gingivalis invasion was measured using the antibiotic protection assay, immunofluorescence and flow cytometry and these were correlated with gene and surface expression of the urokinase receptor and the α5-integrin subunit, which is thought to mediate P. gingivalis invasion. Results showed that the percentage invasion was enhanced with increasing serum re-introduction time, and positively correlated with the number of cells in S-phase. In addition, flow cytometry data showed that the highest association of fluorescent P. gingivalis was with PI positive S-phase cells. Moreover, BrdU positive S-phase cells were 3 times more likely to be invaded and contained 10 times more P. gingivalis than cells in other phases. Also, α5-integrin was more highly expressed in cells in S-phase than other phases, which could explain the mechanism underlying this enhanced invasion. Data presented here have suggested that P. gingivalis targeting of cells in S- phase could, in vivo, allow preferential invasion of the junctional epithelial cells which turns over rapidly. The data presented in this thesis suggest that P. gingivalis invasion is greatly dependent on several factors attributed to the host, the bacteria itself, and to the environment which the bacteria reside in. The invasion occurs within a population of host cells in a heterogeneous fashion, and is dependent on the cell cycle phase, specifically S-phase. This novel finding, in addition to the previously reported mechanisms of P. gingivalis invasion, increases our understanding of this virulence trait and suggests that such a strategy is a highly organised process which the bacteria can follow to ensure its survival within the host. Furthermore, knowledge of these mechanisms could provide novel approaches to treatment of periodontal diseases.
Supervisor: Whawell, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available