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School of Dentistry The University of Adelaide
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Oral Microbiology Research

Fusobacterium nucleatum

Fusobacterium nucleatum is an anaerobic Gram-negative non-spore forming bacterium, and the type species for the genus Fuosbacterium.

The cells of F. nucleatum are spindle-shaped or fusiform rods of variable length. Studies in laboratories, including ours, have shown that the organism obtains energy via the fermentation of carbohydrates and specific amino acids, producing butyrate as a major metabolic end-product.

F. nucleatum is a common human dental plaque isolate and based on its ability to adhere to a wide range of other plaque microorganisms it is proposed to play a crucial role in plaque development.

F. nucleatum is frequently associated with periodontal diseases, as well as invasive human infections of the head and neck, chest, lung, liver and abdomen. Properties of F. nucleatum that may be related to virulence include it's adherence to and invasion of host tissue cells, and modulation of the host immune response.

  • Bartold PM, Gully NJ, Zilm PS and Rogers AH. 1991. Fusobacterium nucleatum chemostat-culture supernatants that are potent inhibitors of human gingival fibroblast proliferation. J. Periodont. Res., 26, 314-322.
  • Rogers AH, Zilm PS, Gully NJ, Pfenning AL and Marsh PD. 1991. Some aspects of the growth and metabolism of Fusobacterium nucleatum ATCC 10953 in continuous culture. Oral Microbiol. Immunol., 6, 250-255.
  • Rogers AH, Gully NJ, Pfenning AL and Zilm PS. 1992. The breakdown and utilization of peptides by strains of Fusobacterium nucleatum. Oral Microbiol. Immunol., 7, 299-303.
  • Reyes OA, Rogers AH and Zilm PS. 1993. Investigation of clotting factors present in Fusobacterium nucleatum ATCC 25586. Aust. Dent. J., 38, 7.
  • Suri MG, Rogers AH and Zilm PS. 1994. Investigation of an aminopeptidase from Fusobacterium nucleatum ATCC 25586 T. Aust. Dent. J. 39, 261.
  • Rogers AH, Zilm PS and Gully NJ. 1994. Aspects of the metabolism of Gram-negative anaerobes. Aust. Microbiol. 15, 98.
  • Rogers AH and Zilm PS. 1995. The influence of intracellular polyglucose and prior growth rate on the survival of Fusobacterium nucleatum under starvation conditions. Oral Microbiol. Immunol. 10,119-121.
  • Morris ML, Rogers AH and Andrews RH. 1996. The use of allozyme electrophoresis to assess genetic heterogeneity among previously-subspeciated isolates of Fusobacterium nucleatum. Oral Microbiol. Immunol. 11, 15-21.
  • Morris ML, Rogers AH and Andrews RH. 1997. Investigations of the taxonomy and systematics of Fusobacterium nucleatum using allozyme electrophoresis. Internat. J. System. Bacteriol. 47, 103-110.
  • Diaz PI, Zilm PS and Rogers AH. 2000. The response to oxidative stress of Fusobacterium nucleatum grown in continuous culture. FEMS Microbiol. Letts 187, 31-34.
  • Diaz PI, Zilm PS and Rogers AH. 2002. Fusobacterium nucleatum supports the growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis in oxygenated and carbon dioxide-depleted environments. Microbiology 148, 467-472.
  • Zilm PS, Gully NJ and Rogers AH. 2002. Growth pH and transient increases in amino acid availability influence polyglucose synthesis by Fusobacterium nucleatum. FEMS Microbiol Letts. 215, 203-208.
  • Zilm PS, Gully NJ and Rogers AH. 2003. Changes in growth and polyglucose synthesis in response to fructose metabolism by Fusobacterium nucleatum grown in continuous culture. Oral Micro. Immunol. 18, 260-262.
  • P Zilm, C. Bagley, A. Rogers, I. Milne and N. Gully.(2007) The proteomic profile of Fusobacterium nucleatum is regulated by growth pH.  Microbiology (SGM) 153:148-159
  • P Zilm and A. Rogers. (2007) Co-adhesion and biofilm formation by Fusobcterium nucleatum in response to growth pH. Anaerobe 13:146-152.