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Infect Immun. 1989 July; 57(7): 2079–2085.
PMCID: PMC313844

Isolation and characterization of the Streptococcus mutans gtfD gene, coding for primer-dependent soluble glucan synthesis.


Two glucosyltransferase genes from Streptococcus mutans GS-5, gtfB and gtfC, have been previously isolated and sequenced in this laboratory. In the present communication a third gtf gene, gtfD, was isolated and characterized. Isolation of the gene involved a novel procedure utilizing the integration plasmid pVA891. A peptide expressed by the 1.7-kilobase DNA fragment from strain NHS1 (containing deletions in both the gtfB and gtfC genes) was initially identified in a pUC18 clone bank with antiglucosyltransferase antibodies. This fragment was integrated into the GS-5 chromosome following ligation into pVA891 and transformation, yielding strain DP2. The vector together with one complete and one incomplete copy of the gtfD gene was removed from the chromosome of strain DP2 following EcoRI digestion, religation, and transformation of E. coli HB101. The resultant plasmid, pNH4, expressed glucosyltransferase S (GTF-S) activity. The enzyme was purified to near homogeneity and was shown to synthesize water-soluble glucan exclusively in a primer-dependent manner. The molecular mass (155 kilodaltons) and the kinetic parameters of the purified enzyme were similar to those observed for the GTF-S enzyme previously purified from culture fluids of strain GS-5. Insertional inactivation of the gtfD gene indicated that this gene is not required for in vitro sucrose-dependent adherence to smooth surfaces. Furthermore, inactivation of the gtfD gene in a gtfC gtfB mutant indicated that three distinct gtf genes involved in glucan formation are present on the S. mutans GS-5 chromosome. Southern blot analysis further suggested that the gtfD gene does not share demonstrable homology with the gtf genes from Streptococcus sanguis or Streptococcus sobrinus.

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