Treponema denticola has been recognized as an important oral pathogen of the "red complex" bacterial consortium that is associated with the pathogenesis of endodontal and periodontal diseases. However, little is known about the virulence of T. denticola due to its recalcitrant genetic system. The difficulty in genetically manipulating oral spirochetes is partially due to the lack of antibiotic resistance cassettes that are useful for gene complementation following allelic replacement mutagenesis. In this study, a kanamycin resistance cassette was identified and developed for the genetic manipulation of T. denticola ATCC 35405. Compared to the widely used ermF-ermAM cassette, the kanamycin cassette used in the transformation experiments gave rise to additional antibiotic-resistant T. denticola colonies. The kanamycin cassette is effective for allelic replacement mutagenesis as demonstrated by inactivation of two open reading frames of T. denticola, TDE1430 and TDE0911. In addition, the cassette is also functional in trans-chromosomal complementation. This was determined by functional rescue of a periplasmic flagellum (PF)- deficient mutant that had the flgE gene coding for PF hook protein inactivated. The integration of the full-length flgE gene into the genome of the flgE mutant rescued all of the defects associated with the flgE mutant that included the lack of PF filament and spirochetal motility. Taken together, we demonstrate that the kanamycin resistance gene is a suitable cassette for the genetic manipulation of T. denticola that will facilitate the characterization of virulence factors attributed to this important oral pathogen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology