Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Oral Biology

Committee Chair

Darling, Douglas S.

Author's Keywords

Oral biology; Periodontitis; A. actinomycetemcomitans; Periodontal disease


Periodontitis; Antigens


Periodontitis is a chronic, destructive inflammatory disease of the supporting tissues of the teeth with a high prevalence among adults. While the complete pathogenesis of periodontitis remains unclear, it is initiated and sustained by dental plaque containing pathogens such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Bacteroides forsythus, and Prevotella intermedia. Our hypothesis is that multiple antigens are recognized by human antibodies, and antigens can be identified by use of a genomic expression library. We developed an unbiased global approach to define A. actinomycetemcomitans protein antigens that elicit humoral immune responses and developed a screening method to identify periodontal antigens. We identified 19 unique antigens, 17 of which have not been studied in A. actinomycetemcomitans. Future studies should 1) use additional human sera to identify additional antigens, 2) elucidate the role of identified antigens, and 3) determine how A. actinomycetemcomitans antigen-antibody profiles relate to disease progression.