Adhesive protein-mediated crosstalk between Candida albicans and Porphyromonas gingivalis in dual species biofilm protects the anaerobic bacterium in unfavorable oxic environment

Dominika Bartnicka, Justyna Karkowska-Kuleta, Marcin Zawrotniak, Dorota Satala, Kinga Michalik, Gabriela Zielinska, Oliwia Bochenska, Andrzej Kozik, Izabela Ciaston, Joanna Koziel, Lindsay Bishop, Angela Nobbs, Barbara Potempa, Zbigniew Baster, Zenon Rajfur, Jan Potempa, Maria Rapala-Kozik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
272 Downloads (Pure)


The oral cavity contains different types of microbial species that colonize human host via extensive cell-to-cell interactions and biofilm formation. Candida albicans—a yeast-like fungus that inhabits mucosal surfaces—is also a significant colonizer of subgingival sites in patients with chronic periodontitis. It is notable however that one of the main infectious agents that causes periodontal disease is an anaerobic bacterium—Porphyromonas gingivalis. In our study, we evaluated the different strategies of both pathogens in the mutual colonization of an artificial surface and confirmed that a protective environment existed for P. gingivalis within developed fungal biofilm formed under oxic conditions where fungal cells grow mainly in their filamentous form i.e. hyphae. A direct physical contact between fungi and P. gingivalis was initiated via a modulation of gene expression for the major fungal cell surface adhesin Als3 and the aspartic proteases Sap6 and Sap9. Proteomic identification of the fungal surfaceome suggested also an involvement of the Mp65 adhesin and a “moonlighting” protein, enolase, as partners for the interaction with P. gingivalis. Using mutant strains of these bacteria that are defective in the production of the gingipains—the proteolytic enzymes that also harbor hemagglutinin domains—significant roles of these proteins in the formation of bacteria-protecting biofilm were clearly demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4376
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2019


  • Diseases
  • Microbiology


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