Levine, Martin BDS, PhD

Martin Levine, BDS, PhD

Associate Professor

Contact Information:

Office: BMSB 940A

Phone: (405) 271-2227  ext. 61238
Fax:     (405) 271-3092

Mailing Address:
940 S.L. Young Blvd., BMS940A
Oklahoma City, OK  73104



BDS, University of Glasgow, 1964
PhD, University of Glasgow, 1973

Research Interests:

Periodontal disease describes a mixture of bacterially induced diseases in which the periodontal attachment is destroyed. It may be localized or generalized, chronic or aggressive. Chronic periodontitis first appears as gingival inflammation (gingivitis) accompanied by a teeth adherent microbial biofilms (plaques). Bacteria from saliva grow on mucosal surfaces and teeth as biofilms within which quorum sensing generates chemicals that activate mutualistic interactions leading to luxuriant mixed culture growth. Eikenella corrodens in the commensal microbiota is a major source of lysine decarboxylase which depletes the interstitial fluid of lysine, essential for maintaining an intact epithelial barrier at the base of gingival sulci. Loss of this barrier allows the biofilm to induce an inflammatory exudate derived from blood plasma, the gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) which is richer in bacterial substrates than saliva. The GCF promotes growth of the successor microbiota and gingivitis appears. Current mouthwashes contain antiseptics or detergents that supplement oral hygiene but interfere with probiosis, protection of the oral cavity by the commensal microbiota. Drugs that maintain probiosis could inhibit the impairment of the epithelial barrier by reducing lysine decarboxylase activity. Recently, modelling this enzyme against the highly homologous enzyme from Escherichia coli identified a unique pocket on the E. corrodens enzyme that is likely responsible for lysine allosteric activation reported many years ago. The activation pocket binds quaternary or protonated tertiary amines with high affinity in silico, and may therefore inhibit lysine decarboxylase activation by more weakly binding lysine. The use of lysine decarboxylase inhibitors is patent-protected by the Office of OU Technology Transfer.

Text Book:  Topics in Dental Biochemistry 
This text relates modern modern biochemistry to topics of major interest to dental students, dentists and prospective dental researchers. The book discusses a list of specific topics within which the structures and functions of key proteins and metabolism specifically pertaining to dental health and disease are described as simply as possible and with the aid of numerous diagrams.  The source material is scattered throughout monographs, reviews and scientific papers that students find difficult to undertand. The book contains many color figures and was published online in January 2011 (See:http://www.springer.com/medicine/dentistry/book/978-3-540-88115-5) and in regular hard-cover format world-wide since April 2011.  Recently, Springer has produced a soft cover version of the book in which the figures are in black and white only.  This version is especially inexpensive for students or others who already have access to the online version.

Selected Publications:

  • Lohinai Z, Keremi B, Szoko E, Tabi T, Szabo C, Tulassay Z, Levine M. (2015) Lysine decarboxylase, a new therapeutic target for human periodontal disease therapy. J Periodontol 86(10) 1176-1184.
  • Levine M.  Salivary proteins may be useful for determining caries susceptibility. J Evid Based Dent Pract 2013 Sep;13(3):91-3
  • Peters, J.L., Demars, P.L., Collins, L.M., Stoner, J.A., Matsumoto, H., Komori, N., Singh, A., Feasley, C.L., Haddock, J.A. & Levine, M. (2012) Effects of immunization with natural and recombinant lysine decarboxylase on canine gingivitis development. Vaccine 30, 6706-6712.
  • Lohinai Z, Keremi B, Szoko E, Tabi T, Szabo C, Tulassay Z, Levine M. (2011) Bacterial lysine decarboxylase influences human dental biofilm lysine content, biofilm accumulation and sub-clinical gingival inflammation. J Periodontol. Dec
  • Epub ahead of print, PMID:22141361.
  • Levine M. (2011) Susceptibility to dental caries and the salivary proline-rich proteins. Int J Dent. 2011. Epub 2011 Nov 29: PMID: 22190937.
  • Tábi, T., Lohinai, Z., Pálfi, M., Levine, M. and Szöko, E. (2008) CE/LIF determination of salivary cadaverine and lysine concentration ratio as an indicator of lysine decarboxylase enzyme activity. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 391, 647-651.
  • Zakhary GM, Clark RM, Bidichandani SI, Owen WL, Slayton RL, Levine M. (2007) Acidic proline-rich protein Db and caries in young children. J Dent Res. 86(12):1176-80.
  • Levine, M., Avery, K.T. and Owen, W.L. (2005) Antibody response to actinomyces antigen and dental caries experience: implications for caries susceptibility. Clin. Diag. Lab. Immunol. 12, 764-769.
  • Levine, M., LaPolla, S., Owen, W.L. and Socransky, S.S. (2002) Antibody-based Diagnostic for 'Refractory' Periodontitis. J. Clinical Periodontol. 29, 935-943.

Link to full publication list >