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Volume 51, Number 2, April 2018

Prevalence and comparative analysis of the type IV secretion system in Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitan 

Chih-Chin Liu, Chang-Hua Chen, Chuan Yi Tang, Kuan-Hsueh Chen, Zhao-Feng Chen, Shih-Hao Chang, Chi-Ying Tsai, Ming-Li Liou


Corresponding author:

Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Yuanpei University, Hsin-Chu City, Taiwan
Corresponding author. Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Yuanpei University, No. 306, Yuanpei Street, Hsin-Chu, 30015, Taiwan. Fax: +886 3 5308630. 


Background and purpose: 

Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans has emerged as one of the aetiological agents in periodontal disease. Although Type IV secretion systems (T4SSs) are widely distributed in many bacteria, the genetic features and distribution of T4SSs in A. actinomycetemcomitans remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of A. actinomycetemcomitans serotypes and their T4SSs in a Taiwanese population. 



A comparative analysis of 20 A. actinomycetemcomitans genomes and their T4SSs deposited in GenBank was performed. One hundred subjects, including 20 periodontitis and 80 normal subjects, were enrolled and PCR identification of A. actinomycetemcomitans serotypes and T4SS genes were performed. 



Of 100 subjects, serotypes C (22%) and E (11%) were most common. In addition, T4SSs were distributed in all of the serotypes. The prevalence of T4SSs and their location in plasmids in periodontitis subjects were 1.28–2 fold higher but not significantly different compared to normal subjects. Of 20 A. actinomycetemcomitans genomes, only ten with complete T4SS modules could be detected, which was highly correlated with localized aggressive periodontitis (p < 0.1). Nine of ten T4SS modules were from periodontitis subjects. Phylogenetic analysis of 10 T4SSs in A. actinomycetemcomitans showed that they were clustered into two groups, T4SSAaI and T4SSAaII, with only T4SSAaI appearing in the Taiwanese subjects. 



A. actinomycetemcomitans strains with different serotypes carrying T4SSAaI are widely distributed in a Taiwanese population. This is the first report to show the distribution and detailed comparative genomics of T4SSs in A. actinomycetemcomitans. 


Key words:

Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Type IV secretion systems, Serotype, Comparative genomics