SUMMARY: Fibrillar and fimbriate strains of were compared for their ability to adhere to buccal epithelial cells and saliva-coated hydroxyapatite beads, and for their ability to coaggregate with strains. The fibrillar Lancefield group K strains adhered statistically significantly better to both buccal epithelial cells and saliva-coated hydroxyapatite beads than the fimbriate strains, which lacked the Lancefield group K antigen. After 1 h the fibrillar strains coaggregated statistically significantly better than the fimbriate strains with strain VI, but after 24 h, coaggregation both of fibrillar and of fimbriate strains reached approximately 90%. Freshly isolated strains all coaggregated with the strains, but the percentage coaggregation varied considerably after 1 h depending on the strain. Coaggregation was independent of the presence of Ca. strain HB-V5, a mutant of strain HB that had lost the Veillonella-binding protein, coaggregated weakly with strain V1, but coaggregated very well with other wild-type veillonellae, suggesting the presence of an alternative mechanism for Veillonella-binding for strain HB. Fibrillar strains were, therefore, more adhesive to oral surfaces and coaggregated with veillonellae after 1 h better than the fimbriate strains. Both fibrillar and fimbriate strains were highly hydrophobic in the hexadecane-buffer partition assay.


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