The Journal of Microbiology

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 143–148 | Cite as

Effects of nicotine on the growth and protein expression of Porphyromonas gingivalis

  • Orson Baek
  • Weidong Zhu
  • Hyeong C. Kim
  • Seok-Woo LeeEmail author


Tobacco smoking is considered one of the most significant environmental risk factors for destructive periodontal disease. The effect of smoking on periodontopathic microbiota has not yet been elucidated, as previous studies failed to identify a concrete relationship between periodontopathic microorganisms and smoking. However, it is likely that smoking, as an environmental stress factor, may affect the behavior of dental plaque microorganisms, ultimately leading to alteration of the host-parasite interaction. The goal of this study was to examine the effect of nicotine, a major component of tobacco, on the growth and protein expression of the crucial periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. The growth of P. gingivalis 381 was measured after bacterial cells were cultivated in liquid broth containing various nicotine concentrations. First, P. gingivalis cells were allowed to grow in the presence of a single dose of nicotine (the single exposure protocol) at 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8 mg/L, respectively. Second, P. gingivalis cells were exposed to five consecutive doses of nicotine (the multiple exposure protocol) at 0, 1, 2, and 4 mg/L, respectively. Bacterial growth was measured by optical density and protein expression was analyzed by SDS-PAGE and 2-D gel electrophoresis. In the single nicotine exposure protocol, it was observed that the growth of P. gingivalis 381 was inhibited by nicotine in a dose-dependent manner. In the multiple nicotine exposure protocol, the growth rate of P. gingivalis increased with each subsequent nicotine exposure, even though bacterial growth was also inhibited in a dose dependent fashion. SDS-PAGE and 2-D gel electrophoresis analyses revealed a minor change in the pattern of protein expression, showing differences in proteins with low molecular weights (around 20 kDa) on exposure to nicotine. The results of this study suggest that nicotine exerts an inhibitory effect on the growth of P. gingivalis, and has a potential to modulate protein expression in P. gingivalis.


smoking nicotine protein expression virulence periodontal disease oral anaerobic bacterium 


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Copyright information

© The Microbiological Society of Korea and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Orson Baek
    • 1
  • Weidong Zhu
    • 2
  • Hyeong C. Kim
    • 1
  • Seok-Woo Lee
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Periodontics, College of Dental MedicineColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Division of Periodontics, School of DentistryMarquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Periodontics and Dental Education, Dental Science Research Institute, School of DentistryChonnam National UniversityGwangjuRepublic of Korea

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