The objective of this study was to characterize a fraction from oral streptococci containing receptor activity for salivary agglutinin molecules. Several species and strains of streptococci were disrupted in a Ribi press. The supernatant was nuclease-treated and subjected to differential centrifugation. Receptor activity in the fractions was measured by the inhibition of saliva-mediated bacterial aggregation. In addition, bacterial strains were tested for their ability to aggregate and to deplete saliva of agglutinin activity. Three patterns of activity were observed: Streptococcus sanguis M5 depleted saliva of agglutinin activity and aggregated well Streptococcus sanguis CC5A depleted saliva of agglutinin but did not aggregate well; and Streptococcus faecalis S-161 neither depleted saliva of agglutinin nor did it aggregate. The 105,000 g supernatant fractions derived from Ribi-disrupted Streptococcus sanguis M5 and CC5A, but not from Streptococcus faecalis, showed dose-dependent inhibition of saliva-mediated aggregation. This inhibitory activity was non-dialyzable, had the same heat and trypsin sensitivity as that seen with intact bacteria, and was not due to enzymatic digestion of the salivary agglutinin. Iso-electric focusing revealed a single active region with a pI of 5.5 which was clearly separated from the bulk of the bacterial proteins.
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