Summary: HB and four adhesion deficient mutants, HB-7, HB-V5, HB-V51 and HB-B, were grown in continuous culture in a defined medium under glucose limitation over a range of growth rates from 0·1 to 1·1 h. The ability to coaggregate with V1 cells and the ability to adhere to buccal epithelial cells did not alter with increasing growth rate. Cell surface hydrophobicity decreased markedly with increasing growth rate for the non-fibrillar non-adhesive mutant HB-B but not for the other four strains which all carry different combinations of fibril classes. The thickness of the ruthenium red staining layer (RRL) also varied with growth rate for strain HB-B, ranging from 19·5 ± 3·8 nm at high growth rate to a minimum of 12·3 ± 4·8 nm at low growth rate. Low cell surface hydrophobicity correlated with a thicker RRL for strain HB-B. Strains HB-V5 and HB-7 also showed a significant increase in RRL thickness at high growth rates although to a lesser degree than HB-B. SDS-PAGE revealed a large number of protein bands common to all strains at all growth rates, with the major common protein occurring at 15·6 kDa. Protein bands at 70, 56, 40·5 and 39 kDa appeared stronger at high growth rates than at low. A protein band at 82 kDa showed strongly only at low growth rates. Therefore, adhesion and coaggregation are not phenotypically variable with increasing growth rate but RRL thickness, hydrophobicity and cell surface proteins may be phenotypically variable depending on the strain.


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