Press Release

TIGR Scientists Complete the First Genome Sequence of an Oral Pathogen Associated with Severe Adult Periodontal Disease

June 12, 2001

ROCKVILLE, MD June 12, 2001 — Biologists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, MD in collaboration with The Forsyth Institute in Boston, MA, have completed the sequence from Porphyromonas gingivalis, the first oral disease-causing microbe to be completely sequenced. Porphyromonas gingivalis is a bacterium, which may causeadult periodontitis, or gum disease. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that millions of Americans suffer from periodontitis, which is a chronic infectious disease of the gums and underlying bony tissues. Without treatment, periodontitis or gum disease can destroy tissue and result in tooth loss.

The sequencing project, under the direction of Dr. Robert Fleischmann at TIGR along with Drs. Margaret Duncan and Floyd Dewhirst at The Forsyth Institute, was funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"The results of this sequencing project will provide new insights into how Porphyromonas gingivalis colonizes and becomes the dominant oral flora in individuals with severe gum disease. The genome information will provide new targets for prevention and cure of periodontal disease in adults," said Dr. Fleischmann.

"The Porphyromonas gingivalis genome encodes about approximately 2,700 genes," said Dr. Claire M. Fraser, president and director of TIGR. "The next phase is to conclude annotation which means completing the listing of these genes, providing more information about their growth and other characteristics that will be helpful to researchers in comparative genomics." This new sequencing data will be posted on the Internet today on TIGR's Comprehensive Microbial Resource (CMR) website at http://www.tigr.org/tigr-scripts/CMR2/CMRHomePage.spl. TIGR's CMR database makes it freely available to researchers worldwide.

The project described was supported by Grant Number R01-DE12082 from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.


The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) is a not-for-profit research institute founded in 1992 with interests in structural, functional and comparative analysis of genomes and gene products from a wide variety of organisms including viruses, eubacteria (both pathogens and non-pathogens), archaea (the so-called third domain of life), and eukaryotes (plants, animals, fungi and protists such as the malarial parasite). The first two complete genome sequences of free-living organisms (the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae and Mycoplasma genitalium) were determined at TIGR in 1995, as was the first complete genome sequence of an archaea (Methanococcus jannaschii, in 1996). TIGR recently completed the sequencing of its 25th microbial genome. TIGR also is the only institute to complete the first sequence of a chromosome from the malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, and from the model plant species, Arabidopsis thaliana. Additional information about TIGR is available at www.tigr.org.