NEW YORK, June 12 – The Institute for Genomic Research has sequenced the genome of Porphyromonas gingivalis , a bacterium thought to be a leading contributor to adult gum disease, the National Institutes of Health said Tuesday.
It is the first oral disease-causing microbe to be completely sequenced. The sequencing project was supported by the NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
" P. gingivalis is one of the most intensely studied dental pathogens," Dennis Mangan, chief of NIDCR's infectious diseases and immunity branch, said in a statement. "There is a large cadre of researchers out there ready to use the sequence data to identify the genetic mechanisms for the organism's virulence and to develop better approaches for preventing or eradicating periodontitis."
The sequence of P. gingivalis, a gram-negative anaerobe, contains 2.2 million base pairs, according to the scientists and dental researchers are hoping to able to use the sequence information to identify potential targets for periodontal vaccines and drug therapies.
Currently the primary treatments for periodontitis are deep cleaning and surgery.
The P. gingivalis sequence will be posted on the Internet at http://www.tigr.org/tigr-scripts/CMR2/CMRHomePage.spl .
TIGR recently announced that along with the US Department of Agriculture it had sequenced the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b strain, which is the type responsible for most food-borne listeriosis outbreaks.
TIGR also received a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to complete the sequencing of Cryptococcus neoformans , an organism that causes cryptococcosis, a potentially deadly fungal disease.