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1.  Roles of Sortase in Surface Expression of the Major Protein Adhesin P1, Saliva-Induced Aggregation and Adherence, and Cariogenicity of Streptococcus mutans  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(2):676-681.
Sortase is a newly discovered transpeptidase that covalently links LPXTGX-containing surface proteins to the gram-positive bacterial cell wall. In this study, the sortase gene (srtA) was isolated from Streptococcus mutans NG8 by PCR. The gene encoded a 246-amino-acid protein, including a 40-amino-acid signal peptide. The srtA gene was insertionally inactivated by a tetracycline resistance cassette. P1, a major surface protein adhesin previously shown to anchor to the peptidoglycan by the LPXTGX motif, was secreted into the culture medium by the srtA mutant. In contrast, the wild-type P1 remained cell wall associated. Complementation of the mutant with srtA restored the P1 surface expression phenotype. P1 produced by the mutant, but not that produced by the wild type and the srtA-complemented mutant, was recognized by an antibody raised against the hydrophobic domain and charged tail C terminal to the LPXTGX motif. These results suggest that the failure to anchor P1 to the cell wall is due to the lack of cleavage of P1 at the LPXTGX motif. The srtA mutant was markedly less hydrophobic than the wild type and the complemented mutant. The srtA mutant failed to aggregate in the presence of saliva or salivary agglutinin and adhered poorly to saliva- or salivary agglutinin-coated hydroxylapatite. In rats, the srtA mutant colonized the teeth poorly when sucrose was absent. When sucrose was present, the srtA mutant colonized the teeth but less effectively and induced significantly less caries (P < 0.05) than the wild-type strain. In conclusion, the sortase enzyme in S. mutans is responsible for anchoring P1 to the cell surface and plays a role in modulating the surface properties and cariogenicity of S. mutans.
PMCID: PMC145395  PMID: 12540545
2.  Roles of Salivary Components in Streptococcus mutans Colonization in a New Animal Model Using NOD/SCID.e2f1−/− Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32063.
Streptococcus mutans plays an important role in biofilm formation on the tooth surface and is the primary causative agent of dental caries. The binding of S. mutans to the salivary pellicle is of considerable etiologic significance and is important in biofilm development. Recently, we produced NOD/SCID.e2f1−/− mice that show hyposalivation, lower salivary antibody, and an extended life span compared to the parent strain: NOD.e2f1−/−. In this study we used NOD/SCID.e2f1−/− 4 or 6 mice to determine the roles of several salivary components in S. mutans colonization in vivo. S. mutans colonization in NOD/SCID.e2f1−/− mice was significantly increased when mice were pre-treated with human saliva or commercial salivary components. Interestingly, pre-treatment with secretory IgA (sIgA) at physiological concentrations promoted significant colonization of S. mutans compared with sIgA at higher concentrations, or with human saliva or other components. Our data suggest the principal effects of specific sIgA on S. mutans occur during S. mutans colonization, where the appropriate concentration of specific sIgA may serve as an anti-microbial agent, agglutinin, or an adherence receptor to surface antigens. Further, specific sIgA supported biofilm formation when the mice were supplied 1% sucrose water and a non-sucrose diet. The data suggests that there are multiple effects exerted by sIgA in S. mutans colonization, with synergistic effects evident under the condition of sIgA and limited nutrients on colonization in NOD/SCID.e2f1−/− mice. This is a new animal model that can be used to assess prevention methods for dental biofilm-dependent diseases such as dental caries.
PMCID: PMC3283720  PMID: 22363797
3.  Trigger Factor in Streptococcus mutans Is Involved in Stress Tolerance, Competence Development, and Biofilm Formation  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(1):219-225.
Trigger factor is a ribosome-associated peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerase that is highly conserved in most bacteria. A gene, designated ropA, encoding an apparent trigger factor homologue, was identified in Streptococcus mutans, the primary etiological agent of human dental caries. Inactivation of ropA had no major impact on growth rate in planktonic cultures under the conditions tested, although the RopA-deficient mutant formed long chains in broth. Deficiency of RopA decreased tolerance to acid killing and to oxidative stresses induced by hydrogen peroxide and paraquat, and it reduced transformation efficiency about 200-fold. Addition of synthetic competence-stimulating peptide to the culture medium enhanced transformability of both the mutant and wild-type strains, although the ropA strain did not attain levels of competence observed for the parent. Loss of RopA decreased the capacity of S. mutans to form biofilms by over 80% when cultivated in glucose, but it increased biofilm formation by over 50% when sucrose was provided as the carbohydrate source. Western blot analysis revealed that the expression of glucosyltransferases B and D was lower in the RopA-deficient mutant. These results suggest that RopA is a key regulator of acid and oxidative stress tolerance, genetic competence, and biofilm formation, all critical virulence properties of S. mutans.
PMCID: PMC538946  PMID: 15618157
4.  Characterization of a P1-deficient strain of Streptococcus mutans that expresses the SpaA protein of Streptococcus sobrinus. 
Infection and Immunity  1996;64(9):3652-3658.
The Streptococcus sobrinus SpaA protein and the Streptococcus mutans P1 protein share 66% sequence homology at the amino acid level. To determine if the SpaA protein can be expressed in S. mutans and functionally replace the P1 protein, the spaA gene of S. sobrinus 6715 was isolated from plasmid pX1303 and inserted into the Escherichia coli-Streptococcus shuttle vector pVA838. The resulting plasmid pX1600 was transformed into the P1-deficient strain S. mutans 834 that has defects in saliva-mediated aggregation and in the ability to adhere to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite surfaces. Western blot (immunoblot) analysis of cellular protein fractions of S. mutans 834 (pX1600) detected in mutanolysin-solubilized cell walls a major protein of 210 kDa with an electrophoretic mobility similar to that of S. sobrinus SpaA protein and a minor 210-kDa protein and a major 64-kDa protein in the extracellular protein fraction. Analysis of virulence traits showed that expression of SpaA protein by S. mutans 834(pX1600) cells had restored the ability of the S. mutans 834 cells to aggregate in the presence of saliva or salivary agglutinin but not to adhere to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite. This cell aggregation was inhibited specifically by antisera to S. sobrinus SpaA protein. These results indicate that SpaA plays a role in the virulence of S. sobrinus by specifically interacting with fluid-phase salivary agglutinin to mediate cell aggregation.
PMCID: PMC174277  PMID: 8751913
5.  Dynamics of Streptococcus mutans Transcriptome in Response to Starch and Sucrose during Biofilm Development 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13478.
The combination of sucrose and starch in the presence of surface-adsorbed salivary α-amylase and bacterial glucosyltransferases increase the formation of a structurally and metabolically distinctive biofilm by Streptococcus mutans. This host-pathogen-diet interaction may modulate the formation of pathogenic biofilms related to dental caries disease. We conducted a comprehensive study to further investigate the influence of the dietary carbohydrates on S. mutans-transcriptome at distinct stages of biofilm development using whole genomic profiling with a new computational tool (MDV) for data mining. S. mutans UA159 biofilms were formed on amylase-active saliva coated hydroxyapatite discs in the presence of various concentrations of sucrose alone (ranging from 0.25 to 5% w/v) or in combination with starch (0.5 to 1% w/v). Overall, the presence of sucrose and starch (suc+st) influenced the dynamics of S. mutans transcriptome (vs. sucrose alone), which may be associated with gradual digestion of starch by surface-adsorbed amylase. At 21 h of biofilm formation, most of the differentially expressed genes were related to sugar metabolism, such as upregulation of genes involved in maltose/maltotriose uptake and glycogen synthesis. In addition, the groEL/groES chaperones were induced in the suc+st-biofilm, indicating that presence of starch hydrolysates may cause environmental stress. In contrast, at 30 h of biofilm development, multiple genes associated with sugar uptake/transport (e.g. maltose), two-component systems, fermentation/glycolysis and iron transport were differentially expressed in suc+st-biofilms (vs. sucrose-biofilms). Interestingly, lytT (bacteria autolysis) was upregulated, which was correlated with presence of extracellular DNA in the matrix of suc+st-biofilms. Specific genes related to carbohydrate uptake and glycogen metabolism were detected in suc+st-biofilms in more than one time point, indicating an association between presence of starch hydrolysates and intracellular polysaccharide storage. Our data show complex remodeling of S. mutans-transcriptome in response to changing environmental conditions in situ, which could modulate the dynamics of biofilm development and pathogenicity.
PMCID: PMC2957427  PMID: 20976057
6.  Interaction of Salivary alpha-Amylase and Amylase-Binding-Protein A (AbpA) of Streptococcus gordonii with Glucosyltransferase of S. gordonii and Streptococcus mutans 
BMC Microbiology  2007;7:60.
Glucosyltransferases (Gtfs), enzymes that produce extracellular glucans from dietary sucrose, contribute to dental plaque formation by Streptococcus gordonii and Streptococcus mutans. The alpha-amylase-binding protein A (AbpA) of S. gordonii, an early colonizing bacterium in dental plaque, interacts with salivary amylase and may influence dental plaque formation by this organism. We examined the interaction of amylase and recombinant AbpA (rAbpA), together with Gtfs of S. gordonii and S. mutans.
The addition of salivary alpha-amylase to culture supernatants of S. gordonii precipitated a protein complex containing amylase, AbpA, amylase-binding protein B (AbpB), and the glucosyltransferase produced by S. gordonii (Gtf-G). rAbpA was expressed from an inducible plasmid, purified from Escherichia coli and characterized. Purified rAbpA, along with purified amylase, interacted with and precipitated Gtfs from culture supernatants of both S. gordonii and S. mutans. The presence of amylase and/or rAbpA increased both the sucrase and transferase component activities of S. mutans Gtf-B. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using anti-Gtf-B antibody verified the interaction of rAbpA and amylase with Gtf-B. A S. gordonii abpA-deficient mutant showed greater biofilm growth under static conditions than wild-type in the presence of sucrose. Interestingly, biofilm formation by every strain was inhibited in the presence of saliva.
The results suggest that an extracellular protein network of AbpA-amylase-Gtf may influence the ecology of oral biofilms, likely during initial phases of colonization.
PMCID: PMC3225810  PMID: 17593303
7.  Differentiation of salivary agglutinin-mediated adherence and aggregation of mutans streptococci by use of monoclonal antibodies against the major surface adhesin P1. 
Infection and Immunity  1992;60(3):1008-1017.
The ability to adhere to salivary agglutinin-coated hydroxyapatite beads and to aggregate in the presence of fluid-phase salivary agglutinin was tested by using 25 isolates of mutants streptococci representing eight serotypes. Both adherence and aggregation activity correlated with expression of the Mr-185,000 cell surface antigen P1 on Streptococcus mutans serotype c, e, and f strains. In addition, it was shown that the P1 molecule itself served as the adhesin of S. mutans serotype c, since adherence was significantly inhibited by the presence of recombinant-specified Mr-150,000 P1. The ability of S. sobrinus strains to adhere or aggregate did not correlate with expression of the P1 cross-reactive antigen SpaA. There was also evidence for interaction with salivary agglutinin, as manifested by aggregation but not adherence of S. rattus serotype b, which does not express a P1 cross-reactive antigen. To understand the interaction of P1 with salivary agglutinin at the molecular level, a panel of 11 anti-P1 monoclonal antibodies was tested for inhibitory activity in adherence and aggregation inhibition assays. Overlapping, but not identical, subsets of monoclonal antibodies were found to inhibit adherence and aggregation, indicating that the interactions of P1 with salivary agglutinin which mediate these two phenomena are different. The localization of functional domains of P1 which may mediate the aggregation and adherence reactions is discussed.
PMCID: PMC257587  PMID: 1541515
8.  Cloning and expression of a Streptococcus sanguis surface antigen that interacts with a human salivary agglutinin. 
Infection and Immunity  1988;56(9):2484-2490.
Human saliva contains a high-molecular-weight glycoprotein (agglutinin) which binds to specific streptococci in a calcium-dependent reaction leading to the formation of bacterial aggregates. We report the cloning of a gene encoding a surface antigen from Streptococcus sanguis M5 and show that the expressed protein inhibits agglutinin-mediated aggregation and specifically binds the salivary agglutinin in a calcium-dependent fashion. Clones isolated from the immunological screening of S. sanguis M5 genomic libraries with polyclonal antibodies against whole cells were assayed for the ability to compete with S. sanguis for agglutinin. One clone, pSSP-5, expressed antigens of 165 and 130 kilodaltons (kDa) possessing this activity. A 3-kilobase-pair (kbp) insert fragment from this clone was used to screen a genomic library in lambda EMBL3 which resulted in the isolation of clone SSP-5A. This clone contained an insert of 17 kb and expressed proteins of 170 to 205 kDa that reacted with the anti-S. sanguis antibodies. Subcloning of a 5.3-kbp EcoRI-BamHI fragment from SSP-5A produced pEB-5, which expressed streptococcal components that were indistinguishable from SSP-5A. The streptococcal antigen was purified by gel permeation and ion exchange chromatography and shown to potently compete with S. sanguis M5 cells for agglutinin. The antigen also bound purified salivary agglutinin in the presence of 1 mM CaCl2. This binding was inhibited by EDTA. Both the SSP-5 antigen and a 205-kDa protein in surface protein extracts from S. sanguis M5 cross-reacted with antibodies directed against antigen B from S. mutans and SpaA from S. sobrinus 6715. These results indicate that a 205-kDa surface protein that is antigenically related to SpaA and antigen B is involved in the binding of salivary agglutinin to S. sanguis M5.
PMCID: PMC259592  PMID: 3410546
9.  Strains of Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus attach to different pellicle receptors. 
Infection and Immunity  1986;52(2):555-561.
We compared the levels of adsorption of Streptococcus mutans JBP and Streptococcus sobrinus 6715 to experimental pellicles formed from unsupplemented and glucosyltransferase (GTF)-supplemented saliva. Pellicles formed on hydroxyapatite beads from GTF or from saliva-GTF mixtures possessed detectable GTF activity. Low levels of GTF activity were also detected in clarified whole human saliva, but not in samples of submandibular saliva. The adsorptive behavior of S. mutans JBP to pellicles formed from saliva or saliva-GTF mixtures was strikingly different from that of S. sobrinus 6715. S. mutans JBP adsorbed in higher numbers to pellicles formed from whole or submandibular saliva than to buffer-treated hydroxyapatite under the assay conditions used, in which blocking with albumin was used. In contrast, S. sobrinus 6715 attached in lower numbers and did not show enhanced adsorption to pellicles prepared from saliva. Pellicles prepared from the high-molecular-weight mucin fraction of submandibular saliva effectively promoted adsorption of S. mutans JBP, but none of the saliva fractions tested enhanced the attachment of S. sobrinus 6715 above the levels of buffer controls. Exposure of pellicles which contained GTF to sucrose to permit in situ synthesis of glucan markedly enhanced attachment of S. sobrinus 6715 but not attachment of S. mutans JBP. Also, the presence of sucrose throughout the adsorption period did not enhance attachment of S. mutans JBP. Both organisms possessed cell-associated GTF, and GTF preparations derived from S. sobrinus 6715 and Streptococcus sanguis FC-1 behaved like GTF derived from S. mutans JBP. S. sobrinus 6715 attached in high numbers to dextran-treated hydroxyapatite, whereas S. mutans JBP did not. These observations suggest that S. mutans JBP cells possess an adhesin which binds to salivary components in the pellicles. In contrast, S. sobrinus 6715 cells appear to possess an adhesin which binds to glucan in the pellicles. Four additional strains of S. mutans and four additional strains of S. sobrinus behaved qualitatively like strains JBP and 6715, respectively, and thus the differences observed appear to be representative of these species. Collectively, our data indicate that S. mutans and S. sobrinus attach to different receptors in experimental pellicles.
PMCID: PMC261036  PMID: 2422126
10.  Functional amyloid formation by Streptococcus mutans 
Microbiology  2012;158(Pt 12):2903-2916.
Dental caries is a common infectious disease associated with acidogenic and aciduric bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans. Organisms that cause cavities form recalcitrant biofilms, generate acids from dietary sugars and tolerate acid end products. It has recently been recognized that micro-organisms can produce functional amyloids that are integral to biofilm development. We now show that the S. mutans cell-surface-localized adhesin P1 (antigen I/II, PAc) is an amyloid-forming protein. This conclusion is based on the defining properties of amyloids, including binding by the amyloidophilic dyes Congo red (CR) and Thioflavin T (ThT), visualization of amyloid fibres by transmission electron microscopy and the green birefringent properties of CR-stained protein aggregates when viewed under cross-polarized light. We provide evidence that amyloid is present in human dental plaque and is produced by both laboratory strains and clinical isolates of S. mutans. We provide further evidence that amyloid formation is not limited to P1, since bacterial colonies without this adhesin demonstrate residual green birefringence. However, S. mutans lacking sortase, the transpeptidase enzyme that mediates the covalent linkage of its substrates to the cell-wall peptidoglycan, including P1 and five other proteins, is not birefringent when stained with CR and does not form biofilms. Biofilm formation is inhibited when S. mutans is cultured in the presence of known inhibitors of amyloid fibrillization, including CR, Thioflavin S and epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which also inhibited ThT uptake by S. mutans extracellular proteins. Taken together, these results indicate that S. mutans is an amyloid-forming organism and suggest that amyloidogenesis contributes to biofilm formation by this oral microbe.
PMCID: PMC4083658  PMID: 23082034
11.  Streptococcus gordonii glucosyltransferase promotes biofilm interactions with Candida albicans  
Journal of Oral Microbiology  2014;6:10.3402/jom.v6.23419.
Candida albicans co-aggregates with Streptococcus gordonii to form biofilms and their interactions in mucosal biofilms may lead to pathogenic synergy. Although the functions of glucosyltransferases (Gtf) of Mutans streptococci have been well characterized, the biological roles of these enzymes in commensal oral streptococci, such as S. gordonii, in oral biofilm communities are less clear.
The objective of this work was to explore the role of GtfG, the single Gtf enzyme of S. gordonii, in biofilm interactions with C. albicans.
Biofilms were grown under salivary flow in flow cells in vitro, or under static conditions in 96 well plates. A panel of isogenic S. gordonii CH1 gtfG mutants and complemented strains were co-inoculated with C. albicans strain SC5314 to form mixed biofilms. Biofilm accretion and binding interactions between the two organisms were tested. Biofilms were quantified using confocal microscopy or the crystal violet assay.
The presence of GtfG enhanced dual biofilm accretion, and sucrose supplementation further augmented dual biofilm formation, pointing to a role of newly synthesized glucans. GtfG also promoted binding to C. albicans preformed biofilms. Soluble α-1,6-glucans played a role in these interactions since: 1) a strain producing only soluble glucans (CH107) formed robust dual biofilms under conditions of salivary flow; and 2) the dual biofilm was susceptible to enzymatic breakdown by dextranase which specifically degrades soluble α-1,6-glucans.
Our work identified a novel molecular mechanism for C. albicans and S. gordonii biofilm interactions, mediated by GtfG. This protein promotes early biofilm binding of S. gordonii to C. albicans which leads to increased accretion of streptococcal cells in mixed biofilms. We also showed that soluble glucans, with α-1,6-linkages, promoted inter-generic adhesive interactions.
PMCID: PMC3907680  PMID: 24490004
α-glucans; C. albicans; S. gordonii; biofilms; glucosyltransferases
12.  Assessment of Genes Associated with Streptococcus mutans Biofilm Morphology 
Streptococcus mutans, the major pathogen responsible for dental caries in humans, is a biofilm-forming bacterium. In the present study, 17 different pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns of genomic DNA were identified in S. mutans organisms isolated clinically from whole saliva. The S. mutans isolates showed different abilities to form biofilms on polystyrene surfaces in semidefined minimal medium cultures. Following cultivation in a flow cell system in tryptic soy broth with 0.25% sucrose and staining using a BacLight LIVE/DEAD system, two strains, designated FSC-3 and FSC-4, showed the greatest and least, respectively, levels of biofilm formation when examined with confocal laser scanning microscopy. Further, image analyses of spatial distribution and architecture were performed to quantify the merged green (live cells) and red (dead cells) light. The light intensity of the FSC-3 biofilm was greater than that of the FSC-4 biofilm in the bottom area but not in the top area. S. mutans whole-genome array results showed that approximately 3.8% of the genes were differentially expressed in the two strains, of which approximately 2.2%, including bacitracin transport ATP-binding protein gene glrA and a BLpL-like putative immunity protein gene, were activated in FSC-3. In addition, about 1.6% of the genes, including those associated with phosphotransferase system genes, were repressed. Analyses of the glrA-deficient strains and reverse transcription-PCR confirmed the role of the gene in biofilm formation. Differential assessment of biofilm-associated genes in clinical strains may provide useful information for understanding the morphological development of streptococcal biofilm, as well as for colonization of S. mutans.
PMCID: PMC1563623  PMID: 16957255
13.  Anti-caries DNA vaccine-induced secretory immunoglobulin A antibodies inhibit formation of Streptococcus mutans biofilms in vitro 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2012;34(2):239-246.
To investigate the effects of anti-caries DNA vaccine-induced salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) antibodies on Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) adherence and biofilms formation in vitro.
Adult female Wistar rats were intranasally immunized with the anti-caries DNA vaccine pGJA-P/VAX. Their saliva samples were collected at different times after the immunization, and S-IgA antibody level in the saliva and its inhibition on S. mutans adherence were examined. The effects of S-IgA in the saliva with the strongest inhibitory effects were examined at 3 different stages, ie acquired pellicles, biofilm formation and production of mature biofilms. The number of viable bacteria and depth of the biofilm at 16 h in each stage were determined using counting colony forming units and using a confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). The participation of S-IgA in acquired pellicles and its aggregation with S. mutans were also observed under CLSM.
The S-IgA titer in saliva reached its peak and exhibited the strongest inhibition on S. mutans adhesion at 10 weeks after the immunization. The colonies and depth of the biofilm in the saliva-pretreated group were 41.79% and 41.02%, respectively, less than the control group. The colonies and depth of the biofilm in the co-culture group were 27.4% and 22.81% less than the control group. The assembly of S. mutans and S-IgA was observed under CLSM after co-cultivation. In the mature-stage biofilm, no differences were observed between the different groups.
These results demonstrate that the anti-caries DNA vaccine induces the production of specific S-IgA antibodies that may prevent dental caries by inhibiting the initial adherence of S. mutans onto tooth surfaces, thereby reducing the accumulation of S. mutans on the acquired pellicles.
PMCID: PMC4089030  PMID: 23274411
teeth; dental plaque; dental caries; Streptococcus mutans; biofilm; S-IgA; DNA vaccine
14.  Exopolysaccharides Produced by Streptococcus mutans Glucosyltransferases Modulate the Establishment of Microcolonies within Multispecies Biofilms▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(12):3024-3032.
Streptococcus mutans is a key contributor to the formation of the extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) matrix in dental biofilms. The exopolysaccharides, which are mostly glucans synthesized by streptococcal glucosyltransferases (Gtfs), provide binding sites that promote accumulation of microorganisms on the tooth surface and further establishment of pathogenic biofilms. This study explored (i) the role of S. mutans Gtfs in the development of the EPS matrix and microcolonies in biofilms, (ii) the influence of exopolysaccharides on formation of microcolonies, and (iii) establishment of S. mutans in a multispecies biofilm in vitro using a novel fluorescence labeling technique. Our data show that the ability of S. mutans strains defective in the gtfB gene or the gtfB and gtfC genes to form microcolonies on saliva-coated hydroxyapatite surfaces was markedly disrupted. However, deletion of both gtfB (associated with insoluble glucan synthesis) and gtfC (associated with insoluble and soluble glucan synthesis) is required for the maximum reduction in EPS matrix and biofilm formation. S. mutans grown with sucrose in the presence of Streptococcus oralis and Actinomyces naeslundii steadily formed exopolysaccharides, which allowed the initial clustering of bacterial cells and further development into highly structured microcolonies. Concomitantly, S. mutans became the major species in the mature biofilm. Neither the EPS matrix nor microcolonies were formed in the presence of glucose in the multispecies biofilm. Our data show that GtfB and GtfC are essential for establishment of the EPS matrix, but GtfB appears to be responsible for formation of microcolonies by S. mutans; these Gtf-mediated processes may enhance the competitiveness of S. mutans in the multispecies environment in biofilms on tooth surfaces.
PMCID: PMC2901689  PMID: 20233920
15.  Reduction of Streptococcus mutans Adherence and Dental Biofilm Formation by Surface Treatment with Phosphorylated Polyethylene Glycol▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2007;51(10):3634-3641.
Initial attachment of the cariogenic Streptococcus mutans onto dental enamel is largely promoted by the adsorption of specific salivary proteins on enamel surface. Some phosphorylated salivary proteins were found to reduce S. mutans adhesion by competitively inhibiting the adsorption of S. mutans-binding salivary glycoproteins to hydroxyapatite (HA). The aim of this study was to develop antiadherence compounds for preventing dental biofilm development. We synthesized phosphorylated polyethylene glycol (PEG) derivatives and examined the possibility of surface pretreatment with them for preventing S. mutans adhesion in vitro and dental biofilm formation in vivo. Pretreatment of the HA surface with methacryloyloxydecyl phosphate (MDP)-PEG prior to saliva incubation hydrophilized the surface and thereby reduced salivary protein adsorption and saliva-promoted bacterial attachment to HA. However, when MDP-PEG was added to the saliva-pretreated HA (S-HA) surface, its inhibitory effect on bacterial binding was completely diminished. S. mutans adhesion onto S-HA was successfully reduced by treatment of the surface with pyrophosphate (PP), which desorbs salivary components from S-HA. Treatment of S-HA surfaces with MDP-PEG plus PP completely inhibited saliva-promoted S. mutans adhesion even when followed by additional saliva treatment. Finally, mouthwash with MDP-PEG plus PP prevented de novo biofilm development after thorough teeth cleaning in humans compared to either water or PP alone. We conclude that MDP-PEG plus PP has the potential for use as an antiadherence agent that prevents dental biofilm development.
PMCID: PMC2043269  PMID: 17646419
16.  Role of sortase in Streptococcus mutans under the effect of nicotine 
Streptococcus mutans is a common Gram-positive bacterium and plays a significant role in dental caries. Tobacco and/or nicotine have documented effects on S. mutans growth and colonization. Sortase A is used by many Gram-positive bacteria, including S. mutans, to facilitate the insertion of certain cell surface proteins, containing an LPXTGX motif such as antigen I/II. This study examined the effect of nicotine on the function of sortase A to control the physiology and growth of S. mutans using wild-type S. mutans NG8, and its isogenic sortase-defective and -complemented strains. Briefly, the strains were treated with increasing amounts of nicotine in planktonic growth, biofilm metabolism, and sucrose-induced and saliva-induced antigen I/II-dependent biofilm formation assays. The strains exhibited no significant differences with different concentrations of nicotine in planktonic growth assays. However, they had significantly increased (P≤0.05) biofilm metabolic activity (2- to 3-fold increase) as the concentration of nicotine increased. Furthermore, the sortase-defective strain was more sensitive metabolically to nicotine than the wild-type or sortase-complemented strains. All strains had significantly increased sucrose-induced biofilm formation (2- to 3-fold increase) as a result of increasing concentrations of nicotine. However, the sortase-defective strain was not able to make as much sucrose- and saliva-induced biofilm as the wild-type NG8 did with increasing nicotine concentrations. These results indicated that nicotine increased metabolic activity and sucrose-induced biofilm formation. The saliva-induced biofilm formation assay and qPCR data suggested that antigen I/II was upregulated with nicotine but biofilm was not able to be formed as much as wild-type NG8 without functional sortase A.
PMCID: PMC3967321  PMID: 24136674
dental caries; metabolism; nicotine; sortase A; Streptococcus mutans
17.  Streptococcus mutans Protein Synthesis during Mixed-Species Biofilm Development by High-Throughput Quantitative Proteomics 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45795.
Biofilms formed on tooth surfaces are comprised of mixed microbiota enmeshed in an extracellular matrix. Oral biofilms are constantly exposed to environmental changes, which influence the microbial composition, matrix formation and expression of virulence. Streptococcus mutans and sucrose are key modulators associated with the evolution of virulent-cariogenic biofilms. In this study, we used a high-throughput quantitative proteomics approach to examine how S. mutans produces relevant proteins that facilitate its establishment and optimal survival during mixed-species biofilms development induced by sucrose. Biofilms of S. mutans, alone or mixed with Actinomyces naeslundii and Streptococcus oralis, were initially formed onto saliva-coated hydroxyapatite surface under carbohydrate-limiting condition. Sucrose (1%, w/v) was then introduced to cause environmental changes, and to induce biofilm accumulation. Multidimensional protein identification technology (MudPIT) approach detected up to 60% of proteins encoded by S. mutans within biofilms. Specific proteins associated with exopolysaccharide matrix assembly, metabolic and stress adaptation processes were highly abundant as the biofilm transit from earlier to later developmental stages following sucrose introduction. Our results indicate that S. mutans within a mixed-species biofilm community increases the expression of specific genes associated with glucan synthesis and remodeling (gtfBC, dexA) and glucan-binding (gbpB) during this transition (P<0.05). Furthermore, S. mutans up-regulates specific adaptation mechanisms to cope with acidic environments (F1F0-ATPase system, fatty acid biosynthesis, branched chain amino acids metabolism), and molecular chaperones (GroEL). Interestingly, the protein levels and gene expression are in general augmented when S. mutans form mixed-species biofilms (vs. single-species biofilms) demonstrating fundamental differences in the matrix assembly, survival and biofilm maintenance in the presence of other organisms. Our data provide insights about how S. mutans optimizes its metabolism and adapts/survives within the mixed-species community in response to a dynamically changing environment. This reflects the intricate physiological processes linked to expression of virulence by this bacterium within complex biofilms.
PMCID: PMC3458072  PMID: 23049864
18.  Streptococcus pyogenes antigen I/II-family polypeptide AspA shows differential ligand-binding properties and mediates biofilm formation 
Molecular Microbiology  2011;81(4):1034-1049.
The streptococcal antigen I/II (AgI/II)-family polypeptides are cell wall-anchored adhesins expressed by most indigenous oral streptococci. Proteins sharing 30–40% overall amino acid sequence similarities with AgI/II-family proteins are also expressed by Streptococcus pyogenes. The S. pyogenes M28_Spy1325 polypeptide (designated AspA) displays an AgI/II primary structure, with alanine-rich (A) and proline-rich (P) repeats flanking a V region that is projected distal from the cell. In this study it is shown that AspA from serotype M28 S. pyogenes, when expressed on surrogate host Lactococcus lactis, confers binding to immobilized salivary agglutinin gp-340. This binding was blocked by antibodies to the AspA-VP region. In contrast, the N-terminal region of AspA was deficient in binding fluid-phase gp-340, and L. lactis cells expressing AspA were not agglutinated by gp-340. Deletion of the aspA gene from two different M28 strains of S. pyogenes abrogated their abilities to form biofilms on saliva-coated surfaces. In each mutant strain, biofilm formation was restored by trans complementation of the aspA deletion. In addition, expression of AspA protein on the surface of L. lactis conferred biofilm-forming ability. Taken collectively, the results provide evidence that AspA is a biofilm-associated adhesin that may function in host colonization by S. pyogenes.
PMCID: PMC3178794  PMID: 21736640
19.  Role for the A Domain of Unprocessed Accumulation-Associated Protein (Aap) in the Attachment Phase of the Staphylococcus epidermidis Biofilm Phenotype 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(24):4268-4275.
The polysaccharide intercellular adhesin or the cell wall-anchored accumulation-associated protein (Aap) mediates cellular accumulation during Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm maturation. Mutation of sortase, which anchors up to 11 proteins (including Aap) to the cell wall, blocked biofilm development by the cerebrospinal fluid isolate CSF41498. Aap was implicated in this phenotype when Western blots and two-dimensional (2D) electrophoresis revealed increased levels of the protein in culture supernatants. Unexpectedly, reduced levels of primary attachment were associated with impaired biofilm formation by CSF41498 srtA and aap mutants. In contrast to previous studies, which implicated Aap proteolytic cleavage and, specifically, the Aap B domains in biofilm accumulation, the CSF41498 Aap protein was unprocessed. Furthermore, aap appeared to play a less important role in the biofilm phenotype of S. epidermidis 1457, in which the Aap protein is processed. Anti-Aap A-domain IgG inhibited primary attachment and biofilm formation in strain CSF41498 but not in strain 1457. The nucleotide sequences of the aap gene A-domain region and cleavage site in strains CSF41498 and 1457 were identical, implicating altered protease activity in the differential Aap processing results in the two strains. These data reveal a new role for the A domain of unprocessed Aap in the attachment phase of biofilm formation and suggest that extracellular protease activity can influence whether Aap contributes to the attachment or accumulation phases of the S. epidermidis biofilm phenotype.
PMCID: PMC4248850  PMID: 25266380
20.  Identification of a salivary agglutinin-binding domain within cell surface adhesin P1 of Streptococcus mutans. 
Infection and Immunity  1993;61(4):1547-1552.
DNA encoding the alanine-rich region (A-region) of the cell surface adhesin, P1, from Streptococcus mutans was subcloned and expressed as a fusion protein with the maltose-binding protein (MBP) of Escherichia coli. The A-region fusion protein was shown to competitively inhibit both adherence of S. mutans to salivary agglutinin-coated hydroxyapatite and fluid-phase agglutinin-mediated aggregation of this organism. MBP alone or an MBP-paramyosin fusion protein was not inhibitory. Proteolytic cleavage of the fusion protein into its component moieties, MBP and A-region, resulted in breakdown of the A-region into three main fragments. Western immunoblot analysis of calcium-dependent agglutinin binding to this preparation revealed binding specificity for a 28-kDa fragment. Thus, the A-region of P1 is an important domain which interacts directly with salivary agglutinin, and this interaction interferes with both the aggregation and the adherence mechanisms in vitro.
PMCID: PMC281399  PMID: 8454362
21.  Inhibition of Streptococcus mutans biofilm formation on composite resins containing ursolic acid 
To evaluate the inhibitory effect of ursolic acid (UA)-containing composites on Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) biofilm.
Materials and Methods
Composite resins with five different concentrations (0.04, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, and 1.0 wt%) of UA (U6753, Sigma Aldrich) were prepared, and their flexural strengths were measured according to ISO 4049. To evaluate the effect of carbohydrate source on biofilm formation, either glucose or sucrose was used as a nutrient source, and to investigate the effect of saliva treatment, the specimen were treated with either unstimulated whole saliva or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). For biofilm assay, composite disks were transferred to S. mutans suspension and incubated for 24 hr. Afterwards, the specimens were rinsed with PBS and sonicated. The colony forming units (CFU) of the disrupted biofilm cultures were enumerated. For growth inhibition test, the composites were placed on a polystyrene well cluster, and S. mutans suspension was inoculated. The optical density at 600 nm (OD600) was recorded by Infinite F200 pro apparatus (TECAN). One-way ANOVA and two-way ANOVA followed by Bonferroni correction were used for the data analyses.
The flexural strength values did not show significant difference at any concentration (p > 0.01). In biofilm assay, the CFU score decreased as the concentration of UA increased. The influence of saliva pretreatment was conflicting. The sucrose groups exhibited higher CFU score than glucose group (p < 0.05). In bacterial growth inhibition test, all experimental groups containing UA resulted in complete inhibition.
Within the limitations of the experiments, UA included in the composite showed inhibitory effect on S. mutans biofilm formation and growth.
PMCID: PMC3670979  PMID: 23741708
Antibacterial composite; Biofilm; Streptococcus mutans; Ursolic acid
22.  Salivary-agglutinin-mediated adherence of Streptococcus mutans to early plaque bacteria. 
Infection and Immunity  1991;59(10):3446-3450.
Interspecies binding is important in the colonization of the oral cavity by bacteria. Streptococcus mutans can adhere to other plaque bacteria, such as Streptococcus sanguis and Actinomyces viscosus, and this adherence is enhanced by saliva. The salivary and bacterial molecules that mediate this interaction were investigated. Salivary agglutinin, a mucinlike glycoprotein known to mediate the aggregation of many oral streptococci in vitro, was found to mediate the adherence of S. mutans to S. sanguis or A. viscosus. Adherence of S. mutans to saliva- or agglutinin-coated S. sanguis and A. viscosus was inhibited by antibodies to the bacterial agglutinin receptor. Expression of the S. sanguis receptor (SSP-5) gene in Enterococcus faecalis increased adhesion of this organism to saliva- or agglutinin-coated S. sanguis and A. viscosus. This interaction could be inhibited by antibodies to the agglutinin receptor. The results suggest that salivary agglutinin can promote adherence of S. mutans to S. sanguis and A. viscosus through interactions with the agglutinin receptor on S. mutans.
PMCID: PMC258905  PMID: 1894355
23.  Targeted Antimicrobial Therapy Against Streptococcus mutans Establishes Protective Non-cariogenic Oral Biofilms and Reduces Subsequent Infection 
Dental biofilms are complex communities composed largely of harmless bacteria. Certain pathogenic species including Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) can become predominant when host factors such as dietary sucrose intake imbalance the biofilm ecology. Current approaches to control S. mutans infection are not pathogen-specific and eliminate the entire oral community along with any protective benefits provided. Here, we tested the hypothesis that removal of S. mutans from the oral community through targeted antimicrobial therapy achieves protection against subsequent S. mutans colonization.
Controlled amounts of S. mutans were mixed with S. mutans-free saliva, grown into biofilms and visualized by antibody staining and cfu quantization. Two specifically-targeted antimicrobial peptides (STAMPs) against S. mutans were tested for their ability to reduce S. mutans biofilm incorporation upon treatment of the inocula. The resulting biofilms were also evaluated for their ability to resist subsequent exogenous S. mutans colonization.
S. mutans colonization was considerably reduced (9 ± 0.4 fold reduction, P=0.01) when the surface was preoccupied with saliva-derived biofilms. Furthermore, treatment with S. mutans-specific STAMPs yielded S. mutans-deficient biofilms with significant protection against further S. mutans colonization (5 minutes treatment: 38 ± 13 fold reduction P=0.01; 16 hours treatment: 96 ± 28 fold reduction P=0.07).
S. mutans infection is reduced by the presence of existing biofilms. Thus maintaining a healthy or “normal” biofilm through targeted antimicrobial therapy (such as the STAMPs) could represent an effective strategy for the treatment and prevention of S. mutans colonization in the oral cavity and caries progression.
PMCID: PMC3733586  PMID: 20737932
targeted antimicrobial therapy; antimicrobial peptide; biofilm; Streptococcus mutans; protective colonization; caries
24.  Pluronics-Formulated Farnesol Promotes Efficient Killing and Demonstrates Novel Interactions with Streptococcus mutans Biofilms 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133886.
Streptococcus mutans is the primary causative agent of dental caries, one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States. Previously published studies have shown that Pluronic-based tooth-binding micelles carrying hydrophobic antimicrobials are extremely effective at inhibiting S. mutans biofilm growth on hydroxyapatite (HA). Interestingly, these studies also demonstrated that non-binding micelles (NBM) carrying antimicrobial also had an inhibitory effect, leading to the hypothesis that the Pluronic micelles themselves may interact with the biofilm. To explore this potential interaction, three different S. mutans strains were each grown as biofilm in tissue culture plates, either untreated or supplemented with NBM alone (P85), NBM containing farnesol (P85F), or farnesol alone (F). In each tested S. mutans strain, biomass was significantly decreased (SNK test, p < 0.05) in the P85F and F biofilms relative to untreated biofilms. Furthermore, the P85F biofilms formed large towers containing dead cells that were not observed in the other treatment conditions. Tower formation appeared to be specific to formulated farnesol, as this phenomenon was not observed in S. mutans biofilms grown with NBM containing triclosan. Parallel CFU/ml determinations revealed that biofilm growth in the presence of P85F resulted in a 3-log reduction in viability, whereas F decreased viability by less than 1-log. Wild-type biofilms grown in the absence of sucrose or gtfBC mutant biofilms grown in the presence of sucrose did not form towers. However, increased cell killing with P85F was still observed, suggesting that cell killing is independent of tower formation. Finally, repeated treatment of pre-formed biofilms with P85F was able to elicit a 2-log reduction in viability, whereas parallel treatment with F alone only reduced viability by 0.5-log. Collectively, these results suggest that Pluronics-formulated farnesol induces alterations in biofilm architecture, presumably via interaction with the sucrose-dependent biofilm matrix, and may be a viable treatment option in the prevention and treatment of pathogenic plaque biofilms.
PMCID: PMC4519314  PMID: 26222384
25.  Immunogenicity and In Vitro and In Vivo Protective Effects of Antibodies Targeting a Recombinant Form of the Streptococcus mutans P1 Surface Protein 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(12):4978-4988.
Streptococcus mutans is a major etiologic agent of dental caries, a prevalent worldwide infectious disease and a serious public health concern. The surface-localized S. mutans P1 adhesin contributes to tooth colonization and caries formation. P1 is a large (185-kDa) and complex multidomain protein considered a promising target antigen for anticaries vaccines. Previous observations showed that a recombinant P1 fragment (P139–512), produced in Bacillus subtilis and encompassing a functional domain, induces antibodies that recognize the native protein and interfere with S. mutans adhesion in vitro. In the present study, we further investigated the immunological features of P139–512 in combination with the following different adjuvants after parenteral administration to mice: alum, a derivative of the heat-labile toxin (LT), and the phase 1 flagellin of S. Typhimurium LT2 (FliCi). Our results demonstrated that recombinant P139–512 preserves relevant conformational epitopes as well as salivary agglutinin (SAG)-binding activity. Coadministration of adjuvants enhanced anti-P1 serum antibody responses and affected both epitope specificity and immunoglobulin subclass switching. Importantly, P139–512-specific antibodies raised in mice immunized with adjuvants showed significantly increased inhibition of S. mutans adhesion to SAG, with less of an effect on SAG-mediated bacterial aggregation, an innate defense mechanism. Oral colonization of mice by S. mutans was impaired in the presence of anti-P139–512 antibodies, particularly those raised in combination with adjuvants. In conclusion, our results confirm the utility of P139–512 as a potential candidate for the development of anticaries vaccines and as a tool for functional studies of S. mutans P1.
PMCID: PMC4249279  PMID: 25225243

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