Mechanisms of Streptococcus gordonii Survival within Macrophages.
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Background: One of the most ecologically complex environments in the human body is the oral cavity, where the balance between health and disease depends on complex interactions between the host and the microbiome. While in general the oral commensal streptococci, including Streptococcus gordonii are innocuous, it is evident that they contribute in the pathogenicity of periodontal disease by interaction with other periodontal pathogens. Oral streptococci are also capable of being causative agents on their own of systemic diseases such as endocarditis. Although phagocytes work as microbial assassins, many bacterial pathogens are able to avoid being killed, with some even being capable of surviving within immune cells. Indeed, our lab has found that S. gordonii is capable of survival within macrophages, with a role for both reactive oxygen species (ROS) resistance and an active ability to damage phagosomes in this survival. We find that S. gordonii DL1 is able to survive and evade macrophage killing once phagocytosed by expressing ROS resistant pathogenicity factors.