From MicrobeWiki, the student-edited microbiology resource
Jump to: navigation, search


Higher order taxa

Bacteria - Firmicutes - Negativicutes - Selenomonadales - Veillonellaceae - Veillonella


Parvula ATCC 10790 T, CCUG 5123 T, NCTC 11810 T Type strain: ATCC 10790 = CCUG 5123 = DSM 2008 = JCM 12972 = NCTC 11810 From: (consult LPSN for this information)

Description and significance

Examples of citations [1], [2]

‘’Veillonella parvula’’ was first isolated from the works of Veillon and Zuber in 1898 who firstly named it Staphylococcus parvula which Prévot renamed as ‘’Veillonella parvula’’ in 1933 [1]. It is a commensal organism most often but has been found in multispecies infections and very rarely in pure culture infections. Its role in the early development of dental plaque and related oral disease such as periodontitis [2] give means for studying this organism further.

This bacterium is gram negative, has cocci morphology, does not produce spores and is only found to be anaerobic, metabolising organic acids such as lactate. It has been isolated from locations such as the gut, urinary tract, dental plaque and oral cavity of humans and other animals [3]. The cell size is 1-3mm in diameter, the colonies are entire with a smooth profile. The cell mass is grey in colour when grown on lactate agar media. They have been visualised in chains, clusters, single cells and pairs mostly [4]. ‘’V. parvula’’ is most significantly known for its capabilities in biofilm formation. When adhering to dental plaque it is able to combine with ‘’Streptococcus mutans’’. They have a mutualistic relationship where ‘’S. mutans’’ allows ‘’V. parvula’’ to adhere to the tooth surface which it cannot do alone. While ‘’V. parvula’’ metabolises the lactate by product of ‘’S. mutans’’, reducing the acidity of the tooth surface providing a less corrosive environment. The biofilm mix produced by the pair is less susceptible to antimicrobials than either individual organism alone [5].

Genome structure

‘’V. parvula’’ strain Te3T has been isolated from the human intestinal tract. The gene is 2,132,142 bp long with 38.6% GC content and one circular chromosome. Out of 1920 genes predicted, 1859 were protein coding, 61 were RNAs, and 15 pseudogenes were identified [6].

Cell structure and metabolism

‘’V. parvula’’ has a cell wall with an outer membrane which signifies the presence of lipopolysaccharide [6]. It has an A1γ-type peptidoglycan with glutamic acid in the D configuration, cadaverine or putrescine connected in a α-linkage to glutamic acid and diaminopimelic acid in meso configuration [6]. Plasmalogens such as plasmenylethanolamine and plasmenylserine are also present as part of the cytoplasmic membrane of ‘’V. parvula’’. They are important for the regulation of membrane fluidity [7].

‘’V. parvula’’ is non motile [8]. It has a distinct metabolism using methylmalonyl-CoA decarboxylase to change the energy gained from decarboxylation reactions into a gradient of sodium ions [8]. ‘’V. parvula’’ catabolizes lactate produced by other bacteria such as Streptococci into propionic and acetic acids [9].

While ‘’Veillonella’’ is unable to attach to surfaces itself, it is able to adhere to surface structures present on other cells [10]. They have a characteristic ability to coaggregate with other bacteria which is important for biofilm formation [10].


Veillonella are frequently found in dental plaque, the tongue, and buccal mucosa. They are also found in the gastrointestinal tract of warm-blooded vertebrates [11]. They coaggregate with many bacteria such as ‘’Streptococcus salivairus’’, ‘’Eubacterium saburreum’’, ‘’Streptococcus mutans’’, and ‘’Actinomyces viscosus’’ to form biofilms [11]. For example, organic acids produced by ‘’Streptoccocus’’ act as a form of metabolic communication between microbes. It has been shown in vivo that Veillonella’’ are not able to colonize the tooth surface without the ‘’Streptococcus’’ as metabolic partners [12].


‘’V. parvula’’ is the only species within the genus known to cause oral diseases such as gingivitis [13]. It has also been involved in rare cases of meningitis, endocarditis, discitis, hepatic abscesses but usually occurs in multispecies infections [13]. While lipopolysaccharides are known to be pathogenic elements in gram-negative bacteria, little has been studied in this regard with the Veillonella species. Moreover, research is limited in the cellular and molecular action required for the innate immune response against ‘’V. parvula’’ [14].

Application to biotechnology

A transformation system for ‘’V. parvula’’ taken from saliva was recently developed using ‘’E. coli’’ as a combined shuttle vector [14]. Further applications could be devised from continued research on and clinical testing of the genetic, pathogenic and susceptibility to candidate drugs for ‘’V. parvula’’.

Current research

Summarise some of the most recent discoveries regarding this species.

Recent studies have focused on the interaction between V. parvula and S. mutans against antimicrobial treatment. The authors found that in the presence of V. parvula, S. mutans showed increased survivability after treatment with antimicrobials. In addition, growing in combination changed the physiology of S.mutans. It has been suggested that studying multispecies biofilms associated with diseases such as caries and periodontitis is important as these microbes have been shown to act in combination [14].

V. parvula has been shown to be resistant against penicillin[14], tetracycline, aminoglycosides, vancomycin, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin [14]. It is susceptible to penicillin G, cephalotin, and clindamycin [14].


1. [Mater, G et al. (2009) Receptor Recognition of and Immune Intracellular Pathways for Veillonella parvula Lipopolysaccharide. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 16(12) : 1804-1809.]

2. [Rocas, I.N & Siqueira, J.F (2005) Culture-Independent Detection of Eikenella corrodens and Veillonella parvula in Primary Endodontic Infections. J. Endodontics. 32(6) : 509–512.]

3. [Bladen HA, Mergenhagen SE. Ultrastructure of Veillonella and morphological correlation of an outer membrane with particles associated with endotoxic activity. J Bacteriol 1964; 88:1482-1492.]

4. [Kamio Y. Structural specificity of diamines covalently linked to peptidoglycan for cell growth of Veillonella alcalescens and Selenomonas ruminantium. J Bacteriol 1987; 169:4837-4840.]

5. [Olsen I. Salient structural features in the chemical composition of oral anaerobes, with particular emphasis on plasmalogens and sphingolipids. Rev Med Microbiol 1997; 8(Suppl 1):S3-S6.]

6. [Dimroth P. Biotin-dependent decarboxylases as energy transducing systems. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1985; 447:72-85 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1985.tb18426.x.]

7. [Gronow S, Welnitz S, Lapidus A, et al. Complete genome sequence of Veillonella parvula type strain (Te3T). Standards in Genomic Sciences. 2010;2(1):57-65. doi:10.4056/sigs.521107.]

8. [Samaranayake LP (2002) Essential Microbiology for Dentistry,pp. 114. Churchill Livingstone, London.]

9. [Hughes CV, Kolenbrander PE, Andersen RN, Moore LV. Coaggregation properties of human oral Veillonella spp.: relationship to colonization site and oral ecology. Appl Environ Microbiol 1988; 54:1957-1963]

10. [Marriott D, Stark D, Harkness J. Veillonella parvula discitis and secondary bacteremia: a rare infection complicating endoscopy and colonoscopy? J Clin Microbiol 2007; 45:672-674 10.1128/JCM.01633-06.]

11. Hughes, C V, Kolenbrander, P E, Andersen, R N, & Moore, L V. (1988). Coaggregation properties of human oral Veillonella spp.: Relationship to colonization site and oral ecology. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 54(8), 1957.

12. Mashima, I., & Nakazawa, F. (2015). Interaction between Streptococcus spp. and Veillonella tobetsuensis in the Early Stages of Oral Biofilm Formation. Journal Of Bacteriology, 197(13), 2104-2111.

13. Matera, G., Muto, V., Vinci, M., Zicca, E., Abdollahi-Roodsaz, S., Veerdonk, F.L. van de, . . . Joosten, L.A.B. (2009). Receptor recognition of and immune intracellular pathways for Veillonella parvula lipopolysaccharide. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 16, 1804-1809.

14. Luppens, S. B. I., D. Kara, L. Bandounas, M. J. Jonker, F. R. A. Wittink, O. Bruning, T. M. Breit, J. M. Ten Cate, and W. Crielaard. (2008). Effect of Veillonella Parvula on the Antimicrobial Resistance and Gene Expression of Streptococcus Mutans Grown in a Dual‐species Biofilm. Oral Microbiology and Immunology, 23(3), 183-89.

This page is written by Dylan Ravensberg for the MICR3004 course, Semester 2, 2016