Background: The term ‘Periodontal disease’ is applied to a range of pathological changes to periodontal tissue. Our best understanding of this multi-factorial disease places a key role on microbial communities and central to these communities are Fusiform bacteria such as Fusobacterium nucleatum (FN). These long filamentous organisms are unparalleled in their ability to adhere to a range of different oral bacteria, and have been shown to invade epithelial cells (Edwards et al., 2006). Recent in vivo studies have also demonstrated invasion of the placenta and colon tumours.
Aims & Objectives: The project will identify genes involved in F. nucleatum virulence & investigate the response of eukaryotic cells to invasion.
Methodology: Techniques will include culturing of bacteria, analysis of cell cycle via cell biology, and the construction of mutants. The resulting strains will be analysed for growth defects, altered sensitivity to antibiotics and the ability to infect human cell lines.
Subject Area: cancer, oral health & disease