Microbe Monday: Treponema denticola

It’s Microbe Monday! And today’s microbe is Treponema denticola, an oral bacteria that causes gum disease.

Here are 3 things you should know about T. denticola

  1. T. denticola is a spirochete, which means it’s shaped like a corkscrew! all spirochetes have a structure in their cells called an endoflagella that helps them move through a twisting motion.
  2. T. denticola is in the same genus as the bacteria that causes syphillis! T denticola is also implicated in bacterial vaginiosis! Despite their similarities, the genome of T denticola is over twice the size of the bacteria that causes syphilis!
  3. T denticola creates a unique enzyme called dentilisin, which coats its surface, and degrades human proteins involved in immunity. Dentilisin is an important virulence factor that helps it cause disease.