Virulence Genes for Cardiovascular & Periodontal Disease Diagnosis & Therapy

Technology #11571


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, with about one fourth of the U.S. population suffering from some form of the disease. Aside from lifestyle and genetic factors, there is increasing evidence that bacterial infections may play a role in CVD. There is also evidence linking poor oral hygiene with CVD, and a suggestion that certain species of periodontal Pathogenic bacteria are involved in the disease. After studying the interaction of one form of periodontal bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) with CVD, UF researchers have identified a novel set of P. gingivalis virulence genes involved in the invasion of cardiovascular endothelial cells in vitro. These newly identified genes may be utilized as targets for therapeutics and diagnostics for both periodontal and cardiovascular disease.


Diagnosis and/or therapeutic targeting of cardiovascular and periodontal disease


  • Enables specific targeting of pathogenic bacteria, preventing unwanted collateral side effects caused by accidentally targeting helpful bacteria or human cells

  • Genes could be utilized in a diagnostic capacity, potentially allowing for early detection of CVD and/or periodontal disease

  • Enables the development of therapeutics against pathogenic forms of P. gingivalis, potentially resulting in effective treatments for periodontal and/or cardiovascular disease


University of Florida researchers have identified a set of genes involved in Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) virulence. Researchers then created mutant strains of P. gingivalis lacking these virulence genes and studied their effect on invasion of Human Coronary Artery Endothelial cells. These mutants had a low invasion frequency in comparison to wild-type Pg, demonstrating that the removal of these genes reduced the virulence of the bacteria. The invention pertains to utilizing these virulence genes in a potential diagnostic and/or therapeutic context, to diagnose and/or treat both periodontal and cardiovascular disease.