Coaggregation between and among human intestinal and oral bacteria

Ruth G. Ledder, Andrea S. Timperley, Melissa K. Friswell, Sandra Macfarlane, Andrew J. McBain

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Coaggregation is believed to facilitate the integration of new bacterial species into polymicrobial communities. The aim of this study was to investigate coaggregation between and among human oral and enteric bacteria. Stationary phase cultures of 10 oral and 10 enteric species, chosen on the basis of numerical and ecological significance in their respective environments together with their ease of cultivation, were tested using a quantitative spectrophotometric coaggregation assay in all possible pairwise combinations to provide quantitative coaggregation scores. While 40% of possible partnerships coaggregated strongly for oral strains, strong interactions between oral and gut strains were considerably less common (4% incidence). Coaggregation scores were also weak between members of the intestinal microbiota (7% incidence), apart from Bacteroides fragilis with Clostridium perfringens, and Bifidobacterium adolescentis with C. perfringens. Oral and intestinal bacteria did not strongly interact, apart from B. adolescentis with Fusobacterium nucleatum, Actinomyces naeslundii with C. perfringens and F. nucleatum with Lactobacillus paracasei. Heating and sugar-addition experiments indicated that similar to oral microorganisms, interactions within intestinal bacteria and between intestinal and oral strains were mediated by lectin-carbohydrate interactions. © 2008 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)630-636
    Number of pages6
    JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


    • Coaggregation
    • Intestinal bacteria
    • Lectins
    • Oral bacteria


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