Intracellular localisation of Treponema denticola chymotrypsin-like proteinase in chronic periodontitis

Emilia Marttila, Anne Järvensivu, Timo Sorsa, Daniel Grenier, Malcolm Richardson, Kirsti Kari, Taina Tervahartiala, Riina Rautemaa-Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Treponema denticola is an important periodontal pathogen capable of tissue invasion. Its chymotrypsin-like proteinase (CTLP) can degrade a number of basement membrane components in vitro, thus suggesting a contribution to tissue invasion by the spirochete. The aim of this study was to analyze the localization of CTLP in chronic periodontitis tissues ex vivo. A polyclonal antibody specific to T. denticola cell-bound CTLP was used to detect the spirochetes in the gingival tissues of patients with moderate to severe chronic periodontitis (n=25) by immunohistochemistry and periodic acid-Schiff staining (PAS). The presence of T. denticola in the periodontal tissue samples was analyzed by PCR. Periodontal tissue samples of 12 of the 25 patients were found to be positive for T. denticola by PCR. Moreover, CTLP could be detected in the periodontal tissues of all these patients by immunohistochemistry. In the epithelium, the CTLP was mostly intracellular. Typically, the positive staining could be seen throughout the whole depth of the epithelium. When detected extracellularly, CTLP was localized mainly as granular deposits. The connective tissue stained diffusely positive in four cases. The positive staining co-localized with the PAS stain in nine cases. T. denticola and its CTLP could be detected in diseased human periodontium both intra- and extracellularly. The granular staining pattern was suggestive of the presence of T. denticola bacteria, whereas the more diffused staining pattern was indicative of the recent presence of the bacterium and shedding of the cell-bound proteinase.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of oral microbiology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • dentilisin
  • major outer sheath protein
  • spirochetes


Dive into the research topics of 'Intracellular localisation of Treponema denticola chymotrypsin-like proteinase in chronic periodontitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this