Streptococcus mutans, the primary etiological agent of human dental caries, is an obligate biofilm-forming bacterium. The goals of this study were to identify the gene(s) required for biofilm formation by this organism and to elucidate the role(s) that some of the known global regulators of gene expression play in controlling biofilm formation. In S. mutans UA159, the brpA gene (for biofilm regulatory protein) was found to encode a novel protein of 406 amino acid residues. A strain carrying an insertionally inactivated copy of brpA formed longer chains than did the parental strain, aggregated in liquid culture, and was unable to form biofilms as shown by an in vitro biofilm assay. A putative homologue of the enzyme responsible for synthesis of autoinducer II (AI-2) of the bacterial quorum-sensing system was also identified in S. mutans UA159, but insertional inactivation of the gene (luxSSm) did not alter colony or cell morphology or diminish the capacity of S. mutans to form biofilms. We also examined the role of the homologue of the Bacillus subtilis catabolite control protein CcpA in S. mutans in biofilm formation, and the results showed that loss of CcpA resulted in about a 60% decrease in the ability to form biofilms on an abiotic surface. From these data, we conclude that CcpA and BrpA may regulate genes that are required for stable biofilm formation by S. mutans.
Previous studies have shown that BrpA plays a major role in acid and oxidative stress tolerance and biofilm formation by Streptococcus mutans. Mutant strains lacking BrpA also display increased autolysis and decreased viability, suggesting a role for BrpA in cell envelope integrity. In this study, we examined the impact of BrpA deficiency on cell envelope stresses induced by envelope-active antimicrobials. Compared to the wild-type strain UA159, the BrpA-deficient mutant (TW14D) was significantly more susceptible to antimicrobial agents, especially lipid II inhibitors. Several genes involved in peptidoglycan synthesis were identified by DNA microarray analysis as downregulated in TW14D. Luciferase reporter gene fusion assays also revealed that expression of brpA is regulated in response to environmental conditions and stresses induced by exposure to subinhibitory concentrations of cell envelope antimicrobials. In a Galleria mellonella (wax worm) model, BrpA deficiency was shown to diminish the virulence of S. mutans OMZ175, which, unlike S. mutans UA159, efficiently kills the worms. Collectively, these results suggest that BrpA plays a role in the regulation of cell envelope integrity and that deficiency of BrpA adversely affects the fitness and diminishes the virulence of OMZ175, a highly invasive strain of S. mutans.
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.
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.
We previously reported that LuxS in Streptococcus mutans is involved in stress tolerance and biofilm formation. In this study, flowcells and confocal laser scanning microscopy were used to further examine the effects of LuxS-deficiency on biofilm formation. Similar to the wild-type strain (UA159), a strain deficient in LuxS (TW26D) bound efficiently to the flowcells and formed microcolonies 4 h after inoculation. Unlike UA159, which accumulated and formed compact, evenly distributed biofilms after 28 h, TW26D showed only loose, sporadic, thin biofilms. DNA microarray analysis revealed alterations in transcription of more than 60 genes in TW26D biofilms by at least 1.5-fold (P < 0.001). Among the upregulated genes were those for sugar-specific enzymes II of the phosphotransferase (PTS) system and the atp operon, which codes for the proton-pumping F-ATPase. Of the downregulated genes, several encode proteins with putative functions in DNA repair. Mutation of selected genes caused severe defects in the ability of the mutants to tolerate low pH and oxidative stress. These results provide additional proof that LuxS-deficiency causes global alterations in the expression of genes central to biofilm formation and virulence of S. mutans, including those involved in energy metabolism, DNA repair and stress tolerance.
biofilms; dental caries; DNA array analysis; quorum sensing; Streptococcus mutans
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.
Biofilm formation by Streptococcus mutans is considered as its principal virulence factor, causing dental caries. Mutants of S. mutans defective in biofilm
formation were generated and analyzed to study the collective role of proteins in its formation. Mutants were characterized on the basis of adherence to
saliva-coated surface, and biofilm formation. The confocal laser microscopy and scanning electron microscopy images showed that the control biofilms
had cluster of cells covered by layer of exo-polysaccharide while the biofilms of mutants were thin and spaced. Two-dimensional protein electrophoresis
data analysis identified 57 proteins that are either up (44 proteins) or down (13 proteins) regulated. These data points to the importance of up and down
regulated proteins in the formation of biofilm in Streptococcus mutans.
Streptococcus mutans is implicated as a major etiological agent in human dental caries, and one of the important virulence properties of this organism is its ability to form biofilms (dental plaque) on tooth surfaces. We examined the role of autoinducer-2 (AI-2) on S. mutans biofilm formation by constructing a GS-5 luxS-null mutant. Biofilm formation by the luxS mutant in 0.5% sucrose defined medium was found to be markedly attenuated compared to the wild type. Scanning electron microscopy also revealed that biofilms of the luxS mutant formed larger clumps in sucrose medium compared to the parental strain. Therefore, the expression of glucosyltransferase genes was examined and the gtfB and gtfC genes, but not the gtfD gene, in the luxS mutant were upregulated in the mid-log growth phase. Furthermore, we developed a novel two-compartment system to monitor AI-2 production by oral streptococci and periodontopathic bacteria. The biofilm defect of the luxS mutant was complemented by strains of S. gordonii, S. sobrinus, and S. anginosus; however, it was not complemented by S. oralis, S. salivarius, or S. sanguinis. Biofilm formation by the luxS mutant was also complemented by Porphyromonas gingivalis 381 and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans Y4 but not by a P. gingivalis luxS mutant. These results suggest that the regulation of the glucosyltransferase genes required for sucrose-dependent biofilm formation is regulated by AI-2. Furthermore, these results provide further confirmation of previous proposals that quorum sensing via AI-2 may play a significant role in oral biofilm formation.
Streptococcus mutans has been strongly implicated as the principal etiological agent in dental caries. One of the important virulence properties of these organisms is their ability to form biofilms known as dental plaque on tooth surfaces. Since the roles of sucrose and glucosyltransferases in S. mutans biofilm formation have been well documented, we focused our attention on sucrose-independent factors. We have initially identified several mutants that appear to be defective in biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces by an insertional inactivation mutagenesis strategy applied to S. mutans. A total of 27 biofilm-defective mutants were isolated and analyzed in this study. From these mutants, three genes were identified. One of the mutants was defective in the Bacillus subtilis lytR homologue. Another of the biofilm-defective mutants isolated was a yulF homologue, which encodes a hypothetical protein of B. subtilis whose function in biofilm formation is unknown. The vast majority of the mutants were defective in the comB gene required for competence. We therefore have constructed and examined comACDE null mutants. These mutants were also found to be attenuated in biofilm formation. Biofilm formation by several other regulatory gene mutants were also characterized using an in vitro biofilm-forming assay. These results suggest that competence genes as well as the sgp and dgk genes may play important roles in S. mutans biofilm formation.
As an etiological agent of bacterial sepsis and wound infections, Vibrio vulnificus is unique among the Vibrionaceae. Its continued environmental persistence and transmission are bolstered by its ability to colonize shellfish, form biofilms on various marine biotic surfaces, and generate a morphologically and physiologically distinct rugose (R) variant that yields profuse biofilms. Here, we identify a c-di-GMP-regulated locus (brp, for biofilm and rugose polysaccharide) and two transcription factors (BrpR and BrpT) that regulate these physiological responses. Disruption of glycosyltransferases within the locus or either regulator abated the inducing effect of c-di-GMP on biofilm formation, rugosity, and stress resistance. The same lesions, or depletion of intracellular c-di-GMP levels, abrogated these phenotypes in the R variant. The parental and brp mutant strains formed only scant monolayers on glass surfaces and oyster shells, and although the R variant formed expansive biofilms, these were of limited depth. Dramatic vertical expansion of the biofilm structure was observed in the parental strain and R variant, but not the brp mutants, when intracellular c-di-GMP levels were elevated. Hence, the brp-encoded polysaccharide is important for surface colonization and stress resistance in V. vulnificus, and its expression may control how the bacteria switch from a planktonic lifestyle to colonizing shellfish to invading human tissue.
The oral cavity is colonized by microorganisms growing in biofilms in which interspecies interactions take place. Streptococcus mutans grows in biofilms on enamel surfaces and is considered one of the main etiological agents of human dental caries. Candida albicans is also commonly found in the human oral cavity, where it interacts with S. mutans. C. albicans is a polymorphic fungus, and the yeast-to-hypha transition is involved in virulence and biofilm formation. The aim of this study was to investigate interkingdom communication between C. albicans and S. mutans based on the production of secreted molecules. S. mutans UA159 inhibited C. albicans germ tube (GT) formation in cocultures even when physically separated from C. albicans. Only S. mutans spent medium collected in the early exponential phase (4-h-old cultures) inhibited the GT formation of C. albicans. During this phase, S. mutans UA159 produces a quorum-sensing molecule, competence-stimulating peptide (CSP). The role of CSP in inhibiting GT formation was confirmed by using synthetic CSP and a comC deletion strain of S. mutans UA159, which lacks the ability to produce CSP. Other S. mutans strains and other Streptococcus spp. also inhibited GT formation but to different extents, possibly reflecting differences in CSP amino acid sequences among Streptococcus spp. or differences in CSP accumulation in the media. In conclusion, CSP, an S. mutans quorum-sensing molecule secreted during the early stages of growth, inhibits the C. albicans morphological switch.
The virulence of the dental caries pathogen Streptococcus mutans relies in part on the sucrose-dependent synthesis of and interaction with glucan, a major component of the extracellular matrix of tooth biofilms. However, the mechanisms by which secreted and/or cell-associated glucan-binding proteins (Gbps) produced by S. mutans participate in biofilm growth remain to be elucidated. In this study, we further investigate GbpB, an essential immunodominant protein with similarity to murein hydrolases. A conditional knockdown mutant that expressed gbpB antisense RNA under the control of a tetracycline-inducible promoter was constructed in strain UA159 (UACA2) and used to investigate the effects of GbpB depletion on biofilm formation and cell surface-associated characteristics. Additionally, regulation of gbpB by the two-component system VicRK was investigated, and phenotypic analysis of a vicK mutant (UAvicK) was performed. GbpB was directly regulated by VicR, and several phenotypic changes were comparable between UACA2 and UAvicK, although differences between these strains existed. It was established that GbpB depletion impaired initial phases of sucrose-dependent biofilm formation, while exogenous native GbpB partially restored the biofilm phenotype. Several cellular traits were significantly affected by GbpB depletion, including altered cell shape, decreased autolysis, increased cell hydrophobicity, and sensitivity to antibiotics and osmotic and oxidative stresses. These data provide the first experimental evidence for GbpB participation in sucrose-dependent biofilm formation and in cell surface properties.
Streptococcus mutans is a major pathogen in human dental caries. One of its important virulence properties is the ability to form biofilms (dental plaque) on tooth surfaces. Eradication of such biofilms is extremely difficult. We therefore screened a library of secondary metabolites from myxobacteria for their ability to damage biofilms of S. mutans.
Here we show that carolacton, a secondary metabolite isolated from Sorangium cellulosum, has high antibacterial activity against biofilms of S. mutans. Planktonic growth of bacteria was only slightly impaired and no acute cytotoxicity against mouse fibroblasts could be observed. Carolacton caused death of S. mutans biofilm cells, elongation of cell chains, and changes in cell morphology. At a concentration of 10 nM carolacton, biofilm damage was already at 35% under anaerobic conditions. A knock-out mutant for comD, encoding a histidine kinase specific for the competence stimulating peptide (CSP), was slightly less sensitive to carolacton than the wildtype. Expression of the competence related alternate sigma factor ComX was strongly reduced by carolacton, as determined by a pcomX luciferase reporter strain.
Carolacton possibly interferes with the density dependent signalling systems in S. mutans and may represent a novel approach for the prevention of dental caries.
Microbial cell-cell interactions in the oral flora are believed to play an integral role in the development of dental plaque and ultimately, its pathogenicity. The effects of other species of oral bacteria on biofilm formation and virulence gene expression by Streptococcus mutans, the primary etiologic agent of dental caries, were evaluated using a dual-species biofilm model and RealTime-PCR analysis.
As compared to mono-species biofilms, biofilm formation by S. mutans was significantly decreased when grown with Streptococcus sanguinis, but was modestly increased when co-cultivated with Lactobacillus casei. Co-cultivation with S. mutans significantly enhanced biofilm formation by Streptococcus oralis and L. casei, as compared to the respective mono-species biofilms. RealTime-PCR analysis showed that expression of spaP (for multi-functional adhesin SpaP, a surface-associated protein that S. mutans uses to bind to the tooth surface in the absence of sucrose), gtfB (for glucosyltransferase B that synthesizes α1,6-linked glucan polymers from sucrose and starch carbohydrates) and gbpB (for surface-associated protein GbpB, which binds to the glucan polymers) was decreased significantly when S. mutans were co-cultivated with L. casei. Similar results were also found with expression of spaP and gbpB, but not gtfB, when S. mutans was grown in biofilms with S. oralis. Compared to mono-species biofilms, the expression of luxS in S. mutans co-cultivated with S. oralis or L. casei was also significantly decreased. No significant differences were observed in expression of the selected genes when S. mutans was co-cultivated with S. sanguinis.
These results suggest that the presence of specific oral bacteria differentially affects biofilm formation and virulence gene expression by S. mutans.
Clinical studies indicate relationships between dental plaque, a naturally formed biofilm, and oral diseases. The crucial role of nonmicrobial biofilm constituents in maintaining biofilm structure and biofilm-specific attributes, such as resistance to shear and viscoelasticity, is increasingly recognized. Concurrent analyses of the diverse nonmicrobial biofilm components for multiparameter assessments formed the focus of this investigation. Comparable numbers of Actinomyces viscosus, Streptococcus sanguinis, Streptococcus mutans, Neisseria subflava, and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans cells were seeded into multiple wells of 96-well polystyrene plates for biofilm formation. Quantitative fluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) examined the influences of dietary sugars, incubation conditions, ingredients in oral hygiene formulations, and antibiotics on biofilm components. Biofilm extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) were examined with an optimized mixture of fluorescent lectins, with biofilm proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids detected with specific fluorescent stains. Anaerobic incubation of biofilms resulted in significantly more biofilm EPS and extractable carbohydrates than those formed under aerobic conditions (P < 0.05). Sucrose significantly enhanced biofilm EPS in comparison to fructose, galactose, glucose, and lactose (P < 0.05). CLSM demonstrated thicker biofilms under sucrose-replete conditions, along with significant increases in biofilm EPS, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, than under conditions of sucrose deficiency (P < 0.05). Agents in oral hygiene formulations (chlorhexidine, ethanol, and sodium lauryl sulfate), a mucolytic agent (N-acetyl-l-cysteine), and antibiotics with different modes of action (amoxicillin, doxycycline, erythromycin, metronidazole, and vancomycin) inhibited biofilm components (P < 0.05). Multiparameter analysis indicated a dose-dependent inhibition of biofilm EPS and protein by chlorhexidine and sodium lauryl sulfate, along with distinctive inhibitory patterns for subinhibitory concentrations of antibiotics. Collectively, these results highlight multiparameter assessments as a broad platform for simultaneous assessment of diverse biofilm components.
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.
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.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are naturally occurring, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents that have recently been examined for their utility as therapeutic antibiotics. Unfortunately, they are expensive to produce and are often sensitive to protease digestion. To address this problem, we have examined the activity of a peptide mimetic whose design was based on the structure of magainin, exhibiting its amphiphilic structure. We demonstrate that this compound, meta-phenylene ethynylene (mPE), exhibits antimicrobial activity at nanomolar concentrations against a variety of bacterial and Candida species found in oral infections. Since Streptococcus mutans, an etiological agent of dental caries, colonizes the tooth surface and forms a biofilm, we quantified the activity of this compound against S. mutans growing under conditions that favor biofilm formation. Our results indicate that mPE can prevent the formation of a biofilm at nanomolar concentrations. Incubation with 5 nM mPE prevents further growth of the biofilm, and 100 nM mPE reduces viable bacteria in the biofilm by 3 logs. Structure-function analyses suggest that mPE inhibits the bioactivity of lipopolysaccharide and binds DNA at equimolar ratios, suggesting that it may act both as a membrane-active molecule, similar to magainin, and as an intracellular antibiotic, similar to other AMPs. We conclude that mPE and similar molecules display great potential for development as therapeutic antimicrobials.
Adhesion and successful colonization of bacteria onto solid surfaces play a key role in biofilm formation. The initial adhesion and the colonization of bacteria may differ between the various types of surfaces found in oral cavity. Therefore, it is conceivable that diverse biofilms are developed on those various surfaces. The aim of the study was to investigate the molecular modifications occurring during in vitro biofilm development of Streptococcus mutans UA159 on several different dental surfaces.
Growth analysis of the immobilized bacterial populations generated on the different surfaces shows that the bacteria constructed a more confluent and thick biofilms on a hydroxyapatite surface compared to the other tested surfaces. Using DNA-microarray technology we identified the differentially expressed genes of S. mutans, reflecting the physiological state of biofilms formed on the different biomaterials tested. Eight selected genes were further analyzed by real time RT-PCR. To further determine the impact of the tested material surfaces on the physiology of the bacteria, we tested the secretion of AI-2 signal by S. mutans embedded on those biofilms. Comparative transcriptome analyses indicated on changes in the S. mutans genome in biofilms formed onto different types of surfaces and enabled us to identify genes most differentially expressed on those surfaces. In addition, the levels of autoinducer-2 in biofilms from the various tested surfaces were different.
Our results demonstrate that gene expression of S. mutans differs in biofilms formed on tested surfaces, which manifest the physiological state of bacteria influenced by the type of surface material they accumulate onto. Moreover, the stressful circumstances of adjustment to the surface may persist in the bacteria enhancing intercellular signaling and surface dependent biofilm formation.
Interactions between salivary agglutinin and the adhesin P1 of Streptococcus mutans contribute to bacterial aggregation and mediate sucrose-independent adherence to tooth surfaces. We have examined biofilm formation by S. mutans UA159, and derivative strains carrying mutations affecting the localization or expression of P1, in the presence of fluid-phase or adsorbed saliva or salivary agglutinin preparations. Whole saliva- and salivary agglutinin-induced aggregation of S. mutans was adversely affected by the loss of P1 and sortase (SrtA) but not by the loss of trigger factor (RopA). Fluid-phase salivary agglutinin and, to a lesser extent, immobilized agglutinin inhibited biofilm development by S. mutans in the absence of sucrose, and whole saliva was more effective at decreasing biofilm formation than salivary agglutinin. Inhibition of biofilm development by salivary agglutinin was differently influenced by particular mutations, with the P1-deficient strain displaying a greater inhibition of biofilm development than the SrtA- or RopA-deficient strains. As expected, biofilm-forming capacities of all strains in the presence of salivary preparations were markedly enhanced in the presence of sucrose, although biofilm formation by the mutants was less efficient than that by the parental strain. Aeration strongly inhibited biofilm development, and the presence of salivary components did not restore biofilm formation in aerated conditions. The results disclose a potent ability of salivary constituents to moderate biofilm formation by S. mutans through P1-dependent and P1-independent pathways.
The Streptococcus mutans atlA gene encodes an autolysin required for biofilm maturation and biogenesis of a normal cell surface. We found that the capacity to form biofilms by S. mutans, one of the principal causative agents of dental caries, was dramatically impaired by growth of the organism in an aerated environment and that cells exposed to oxygen displayed marked changes in surface protein profiles. Inactivation of the atlA gene alleviated repression of biofilm formation in the presence of oxygen. Also, the formation of long chains, a characteristic of AtlA-deficient strains, was less evident in cells grown with aeration. The SMu0629 gene is immediately upstream of atlA and encodes a product that contains a C-X-X-C motif, a characteristic of thiol-disulfide oxidoreductases. Inactivation of SMu0629 significantly reduced the levels of AtlA protein and led to resistance to autolysis. The SMu0629 mutant also displayed an enhanced capacity to form biofilms in the presence of oxygen compared to that of the parental strain. The expression of SMu0629 was shown to be under the control of the VicRK two-component system, which influences oxidative stress tolerance in S. mutans. Disruption of vicK also led to inhibition of processing of AtlA, and the mutant was hyperresistant to autolysis. When grown under aerobic conditions, the vicK mutant also showed significantly increased biofilm formation compared to strain UA159. This study illustrates the central role of AtlA and VicK in orchestrating growth on surfaces and envelope biogenesis in response to redox conditions.
Streptococcus suis is a swine pathogen and also a zoonotic agent. The formation of biofilms allows S. suis to become persistent colonizers and resist clearance by the host immune system and antibiotics. In this study, biofilm forming potentials of various S. suis strains were characterized by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and tissue culture plates stained with crystal violet. In addition, the effects of five antimicrobial agents on biofilm formation were assayed in this study. S. suis produced biofilms on smooth and rough surface. The nutritional contents including glucose and NaCl in the growth medium modulated biofilm formation. There was a significant difference in their biofilm-forming ability among all 46 S. suis strains. The biofilm-forming potential of S. suis serotype 9 was stronger than type 2 and all other types. However, biofilm formation was inhibited by five commonly used antimicrobial agents, penicillin, erythromycin, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, and ofloxacin at subinhibitory concentrations, among which inhibition of ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin was stronger than that of other three antimicrobial agents.Our study provides a detailed analysis of biofilm formation potential in S. suis, which is a step towards understanding its role in pathogenesis, and eventually lead to a better understanding of how to eradicate S. suis growing as biofilms with antibiotic therapy.
biofilm; Streptococcus suis; scanning electron microscopy; confocal laser scanning microscopy; microplate assay; antimicrobial agents
Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), harboring biofilm formation, considered as a main aetiological factor of dental caries. Gtf genes play an important role in S. mutans biofilm formation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of Lactobacillus acidophilus–derived biosurfactant on S. mutans biofilm formation and gtfB/C expression level (S. mutans standard strain ATCC35668 and isolated S. mutans strain (22) from dental plaque).
The Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus) DSM 20079 was selected as a probiotic strain to produce biosurfactant. The FTIR analysis of its biosurfactant showed that it appears to have a protein-like component. Due to the release of such biosurfactants, L. acidophilus was able to interfere in the adhesion and biofilm formation of the S. mutans to glass slide. It also could make streptococcal chains shorter. Using realtime RT-PCR quantitation method made it clear that gtfB and gtfC gene expression were decreased in the presence of L. acidophilus–derived biosurfactant fraction.
Several properties of S. mutans cells (the surface properties, biofilm formation, adhesion ability and gene expression) were changed after L. acidophilus- derived biosurfactant treatment. It is also concluded that biosurfacant treatment can provide an optional way to control biofilm development. On the basis of our findings, we can suggest that the prepared biosurfactant may interfere with adhesion processes of S. mutans to teeth surfaces, provided additional evaluation produce satisfactory results.
Biofilm formation; biosurfactant; gtfB/C; Lactobacillus acidophilus; real-time RT PCR; Streptococcus mutans
The sanguis streptococci are primary colonizers of the tooth surface and thus form the foundation for the complex multiple species biofilm known as dental plaque. In addition, these bacteria can colonize native and prosthetic heart valves and are a common cause of endocarditis. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms governing multiple or single species biofilm development within this group of organisms. Using an in vitro assay for biofilm formation, we determined that (i) Streptococcus parasanguis FW213 can form biofilms on inert surfaces such as polystyrene and (ii) environmental and nutritional factors, such as glucose, affect S. parasanguis biofilm formation. Several isogenic mutants of FW213 were tested in the biofilm assay. Strains containing mutations in fap1, a gene encoding a protein required for assembly of fimbriae, were deficient in biofilm formation. Mutants defective in recA, PepO endopeptidase activity, or the production of a fimbriae-associated protein, FimA, were still capable of biofilm formation. Phase-contrast microscopy was used to follow biofilm development by wild-type and fap1 mutant strains on plastic coverslips over time. Wild-type FW213 attached to the surface, formed aggregates of cells, and eventually formed a dense layer of cells that included microcolonies. In contrast, few fap1 mutant cells were observed attached to the surface, and no cell aggregates or microcolonies were formed. These results suggest that the long peritrichous fimbriae of FW213 are critical for the formation of biofilms on solid surfaces.
Streptococcus mutans, a major oral pathogen responsible for dental caries formation, possesses a variety of mechanisms for survival in the human oral cavity, where the conditions of the external environment are diverse and in a constant state of flux. The formation of biofilms, survival under conditions of acidic pH, and production of mutacins are considered to be important virulence determinants displayed by this organism. Biofilm formation is facilitated by the production of GbpC, an important cell surface-associated protein that binds to glucan, an adhesive polysaccharide produced by the organism itself. To better understand the nature of the environmental cues that induce GbpC production, we examined the roles of 14 sensor kinases in the expression of gbpC in S. mutans strain UA159. We found that only the LiaS sensor kinase regulates gbpC expression, while the other sensor kinases had little or no effect on gbpC expression. We also found that while LiaS negatively regulates gbpC expression, the inactivation of its cognate response regulator, LiaR, does not appear to affect the expression of gbpC. Since both gbpC expression and mutacin IV production are regulated by a common regulatory network, we also tested the effect of the liaS mutation on mutacin production and found that LiaS positively regulates mutacin IV production. Furthermore, reverse transcription-PCR analysis suggests that LiaS does so by regulating the expression of nlmA, which encodes a peptide component of mutacin IV, and nlmT, which encodes an ABC transporter. As with the expression of gbpC, LiaR did not have any apparent effect on mutacin IV production. Based on the results of our study, we speculate that LiaS is engaged in cross talk with one or more response regulators belonging to the same family as LiaR, enabling LiaS to regulate the expression of several genes coding for virulence factors.