Open Access Research article

Quantitative discrimination of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans highly leukotoxic JP2 clone from non-JP2 clones in diagnosis of aggressive periodontitis

Akihiro Yoshida1*, Oum-Keltoum Ennibi2, Hideo Miyazaki3, Tomonori Hoshino4, Hideaki Hayashida5, Tatsuji Nishihara6, Shuji Awano1 and Toshihiro Ansai1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Community Oral Health Science, Kyushu Dental College, Kitakyushu, Japan

2 Département de Parodontologie, Faculté de Médecine Dentaire, Université Mohammed V Souissi, Rabat, Morocco

3 Department of Oral Health Science, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Science, Niigata, Japan

4 Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki, Japan

5 Department of Preventive Dentistry, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki, Japan

6 Division of Infections and Molecular Biology, Kyushu Dental College, Kitakyushu, Japan

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:253  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-253

Published: 11 October 2012



Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans is the etiological agent of periodontitis, and there is a strong association between clone JP2 and aggressive periodontitis in adolescents of African descent. The JP2 clone has an approximately 530-bp deletion (∆530) in the promoter region of the lkt/ltx gene, which encodes leukotoxin, and this clone has high leukotoxic activity. Therefore, this clone is very important in aggressive periodontitis. To diagnose this disease, culture methods and conventional PCR techniques are used. However, quantitative detection based on qPCR for the JP2 clone has not been developed due to genetic difficulties. In this study, we developed a qPCR-based quantification method specific to the JP2 clone.


Based on our analysis of the DNA sequence of the lkt/ltx gene and its flanking region, we designed a reverse primer specific for the ∆530 deletion border sequence and developed a JP2-specific PCR-based quantification method using this primer. We also analyzed the DNA sequence of the ∆530 locus and found it to be highly conserved (97–100%) among 17 non-JP2 strains. Using the ∆530 locus, we designed a qPCR primer–probe set specific to non-JP2 clones. Next, we determined the numbers of JP2 and non-JP2 clone cells in the periodontal pockets of patients with aggressive periodontitis.


The JP2-specific primers specifically amplified the genomic DNA of the A. actinomycetemcomitans JP2 clone and did not react with other bacterial DNA, whereas the non-JP2 specific primers reacted only with A. actinomycetemcomitans non-JP2 clones. Samples from the 88 periodontal sites in the 11 patients with aggressive periodontitis were analyzed. The bacterial cell numbers in 88 periodontal sites ranged from 0 to 4.8 × 108 (mean 1.28 × 107) for JP2 clones and from 0 to 1.6 × 106 for non-JP2 clones (mean 1.84 × 105). There were significant differences in the JP2 cell number between a clinical attachment level (CAL) ≤6 mm and a level ≥7 mm (p < 0.01). Our new qPCR-based JP2- and non-JP2-specific quantitative detection assay is applicable to the diagnosis of aggressive periodontitis with A. actinomycetemcomitans.


We successfully developed a quantitative and discriminative PCR-based method for the detection of A. actinomycetemcomitans JP2 and non-JP2 clones. This technique will contribute to future analyses of the quantitative relationship between this organism and aggressive periodontitis.

Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans; Aggressive periodontitis; JP2; Non-JP2; qPCR; Quantification