Veillonella catalase protects the growth of Fusobacterium nucleatum in microaerophilic and Streptococcus gordonii-resident environments

Peng Zhou, Xiaoli Li, I. Hsiu Huang, Fengxia Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


The oral biofilm is a multispecies community in which antagonism and mutualism coexist among friends and foes to keep an ecological balance of community members. The pioneer colonizers, such as Streptococcus gordonii, produce H2O2 to inhibit the growth of competitors, like the mutans streptococci, as well as strict anaerobic middle and later colonizers of the dental biofilm. Interestingly, Veillonella species, as early colonizers, physically interact (coaggregate) with S. gordonii. A putative catalase gene (catA) is found in most sequenced Veillonella species; however, the function of this gene is unknown. In this study, we characterized the ecological function of catA from Veillonella parvula PK1910 by integrating it into the only transformable strain, Veillonella atypica OK5, which is catA negative. The strain (OK5-catA) became more resistant to H2O2. Further studies demonstrated that the catA gene expression is induced by the addition of H2O2 or coculture with S. gordonii. Mixedculture experiments further revealed that the transgenic OK5-catA strain not only enhanced the growth of Fusobacterium nucleatum, a strict anaerobic periodontopathogen, under microaerophilic conditions, but it also rescued F. nucleatum from killing by S. gordonii. A potential role of catalase in veillonellae in biofilm ecology and pathogenesis is discussed here.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01079-17
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017



  • Anaerobes
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum
  • Oxidative stress
  • Streptococcus gordonii
  • Transformable strain
  • Veillonellae

Cite this