Dental biofilms are complex communities composed largely of harmless bacteria. Certain pathogenic species including Streptococcus (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 very significant protection against further S. mutans colonization (5min treatment: 38 ± 13 fold reduction p=0.01; 16 hr 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.
Targeted antimicrobial therapy; antimicrobial peptide; biofilm; Streptococcus mutans; protective colonization; 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.
10-Hydroxy-2-decenoic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid is the most active and unique component to the royal jelly that has antimicrobial properties. Streptococcus mutans is associated with pathogenesis of oral cavity, gingivoperiodontal diseases and bacteremia following dental manipulations. In the oral cavity, S. mutans colonize the soft tissues including tongue, palate, and buccal mucosa. When considering the role of supragingival dental plaque in caries, the proportion of acid producing bacteria (particularly S. mutans), has direct relevance to the pathogenicity of the plaque. The genes that encode glucosyltransferases (gtfs) especially gtfB and gtfC are important in S. mutans colonization and pathogenesis. This study investigated the hydroxy-decenoic acid (HDA) effects on gtfB and gtfC expression and S. mutans adherence to cells surfaces.
Streptococcus mutans was treated by different concentrations of HPLC purified HDA supplied by Iran Beekeeping and Veterinary Association. Real time RT-PCR and western blot assays were conducted to evaluate gtfB and gtfC genes transcription and translation before and after HDA treatment. The bacterial attachment to the cell surfaces was evaluated microscopically.
500 μg ml-1 of HDA inhibited gtfB and gtfC mRNA transcription and its expression. The same concentration of HDA decreased 60% the adherence of S. mutans to the surface of P19 cells.
Hydroxy-decenoic acid prevents gtfB and gtfC expression efficiently in the bactericide sub-concentrations and it could effectively reduce S. mutans adherence to the cell surfaces. In the future, therapeutic approaches to affecting S. mutans could be selective and it’s not necessary to put down the oral flora completely.
Biofilm; Caries; Glucosyltransferase; Streptococcus
Dental plaque is a structurally- and functionally-organized biofilm. Plaque forms in an ordered way and has a diverse microbial composition that, in health, remains relatively stable over time (microbial homeostasis). The predominant species from diseased sites are different from those found in healthy sites, although the putative pathogens can often be detected in low numbers at normal sites. In dental caries, there is a shift toward community dominance by acidogenic and acid-tolerating species such as mutans streptococci and lactobacilli, although other species with relevant traits may be involved. Strategies to control caries could include inhibition of biofilm development (e.g. prevention of attachment of cariogenic bacteria, manipulation of cell signaling mechanisms, delivery of effective antimicrobials, etc.), or enhancement of the host defenses. Additionally, these more conventional approaches could be augmented by interference with the factors that enable the cariogenic bacteria to escape from the normal homeostatic mechanisms that restrict their growth in plaque and out compete the organisms associated with health. Evidence suggests that regular conditions of low pH in plaque select for mutans streptococci and lactobacilli. Therefore, the suppression of sugar catabolism and acid production by the use of metabolic inhibitors and non-fermentable artificial sweeteners in snacks, or the stimulation of saliva flow, could assist in the maintenance of homeostasis in plaque. Arguments will be presented that an appreciation of ecological principles will enable a more holistic approach to be taken in caries control.
Within the repertoire of antibiotics available to a prescribing clinician, the majority affect a broad range of microorganisms, including the normal flora. The ecological disruption resulting from antibiotic treatment frequently results in secondary infections or other negative clinical consequences. To address this problem, our laboratory has recently developed a new class of pathogen-selective molecules, called specifically (or selectively) targeted antimicrobial peptides (STAMPs), based on the fusion of a species-specific targeting peptide domain with a wide-spectrum antimicrobial peptide domain. In the current study, we focused on achieving targeted killing of Streptococcus mutans, a cavity-causing bacterium that resides in a multispecies microbial community (dental plaque). In particular, we explored the possibility of utilizing a pheromone produced by S. mutans, namely, the competence stimulating peptide (CSP), as a STAMP targeting domain to mediate S. mutans-specific delivery of an antimicrobial peptide domain. We discovered that STAMPs constructed with peptides derived from CSP were potent against S. mutans grown in liquid or biofilm states but did not affect other oral streptococci tested. Further studies showed that an 8-amino-acid region within the CSP sequence is sufficient for targeted delivery of the antimicrobial peptide domain to S. mutans. The STAMPs presented here are capable of eliminating S. mutans from multispecies biofilms without affecting closely related noncariogenic oral streptococci, indicating the potential of these molecules to be developed into “probiotic” antibiotics which could selectively eliminate pathogens while preserving the protective benefits of a healthy normal flora.
Although oral bacteria-associated systemic diseases have been reported, association between Streptococcus mutans, pathogen of dental caries, and ulcerative colitis (UC) has not been reported. We investigated the effect of various S. mutans strains on dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced mouse colitis. Administration of TW295, the specific strain of S. mutans, caused aggravation of colitis; the standard strain, MT8148 did not. Localization of TW295 in hepatocytes in liver was observed. Increased expression of interferon-γ in liver was also noted, indicating that the liver is target organ for the specific strain of S. mutans-mediated aggravation of colitis. The detection frequency of the specific strains in UC patients was significantly higher than in healthy subjects. Administration of the specific strains of S. mutans isolated from patients caused aggravation of colitis. Infection with highly-virulent specific types of S. mutans might be a potential risk factor in the aggravation of UC.
Streptococcus mutans, the major etiological agent of dental caries, has a measurable impact on domestic and global health care costs. Though persistent in the oral cavity despite conventional oral hygiene, S. mutans can be excluded from intact oral biofilms through competitive exclusion by other microorganisms. This suggests that therapies capable of selectively eliminating S. mutans while limiting the damage to the normal oral flora might be effective long-term interventions to fight cariogenesis. To meet this challenge, we designed C16G2, a novel synthetic specifically targeted antimicrobial peptide with specificity for S. mutans. C16G2 consists of a S. mutans-selective ‘targeting region’ comprised of a fragment from S. mutans competence stimulation peptide (CSP) conjoined to a ‘killing region’ consisting of a broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptide (G2). In vitro studies have indicated that C16G2 has robust efficacy and selectivity for S. mutans, and not other oral bacteria, and affects targeted bacteria within seconds of contact.
In the present study, we evaluated C16G2 for clinical utility in vitro, followed by a pilot efficacy study to examine the impact of a 0.04% (w/v) C16G2 rinse in an intra-oral remineralization/demineralization model.
Results and Conclusions
C16G2 rinse usage was associated with reductions in plaque and salivary S. mutans, lactic acid production, and enamel demineralization. The impact on total plaque bacteria was minimal. These results suggest that C16G2 is effective against S. mutans in vivo and should be evaluated further in the clinic.
Antimicrobial; Antimicrobial peptide; Caries; Demineralization; Dental plaque; Lactic acid; Mouth rinse; Oral therapeutic; Selective antibiotic; Selective therapeutic; Specifically targeted antimicrobial peptide; Streptococcus mutans; Targeted antimicrobial
There has been a paradigm shift towards an ecological and microbial community-based approach to understanding oral diseases. This has significant implications for approaches to therapy and has raised the possibility of developing novel strategies through manipulation of the resident oral microbiota and modulation of host immune responses. The increased popularity of using probiotic bacteria and/or prebiotic supplements to improve gastrointestinal health has prompted interest in the utility of this approach for oral applications. Evidence now suggests that probiotics may function not only by direct inhibition of, or enhanced competition with, pathogenic micro-organisms, but also by more subtle mechanisms including modulation of the mucosal immune system. Similarly, prebiotics could promote the growth of beneficial micro-organisms that comprise part of the resident microbiota. The evidence for the use of pro or prebiotics for the prevention of caries or periodontal diseases is reviewed, and issues that could arise from their use, as well as questions that still need to be answered, are raised. A complete understanding of the broad ecological changes induced in the mouth by probiotics or prebiotics will be essential to assess their long-term consequences for oral health and disease.
periodontal diseases; caries; probiotics; prebiotics
Streptococcus mutans has been recognized as an important etiological agent in human dental caries. Some strains of S. mutans also produce bacteriocins. In this study, we sought to demonstrate that bacteriocin production by S. mutans strains GS5 and BM71 was mediated by quorum sensing, which is dependent on a competence-stimulating peptide (CSP) signaling system encoded by the com genes. We also demonstrated that interactions with some other oral streptococci interfered with S. mutans bacteriocin production both in broth and in biofilms. The inhibition of S. mutans bacteriocin production by oral bacteria was stronger in biofilms than in broth. Using transposon Tn916 mutagenesis, we identified a gene (sgc; named for Streptococcus gordonii challisin) responsible for the inhibition of S. mutans bacteriocin production by S. gordonii Challis. Interruption of the sgc gene in S. gordonii Challis resulted in attenuated inhibition of S. mutans bacteriocin production. The supernatant fluids from the sgc mutant did not inactivate the exogenous S. mutans CSP as did those from the parent strain Challis. S. gordonii Challis did not inactivate bacteriocin produced by S. mutans GS5. Because S. mutans uses quorum sensing to regulate virulence, strategies designed to interfere with these signaling systems may have broad applicability for biological control of this caries-causing organism.
Lactobacillus paracasei has been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of many pathogenic microbes such as Streptococcus mutans, in vitro. However, its clinical application remains unclear. Here, we examined whether a novel probiotic L. paracasei GMNL-33 may reduce the caries-associated salivary microbial counts in healthy adults. Seventy-eight subjects (aged 20 to 26) had completed this double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study. A probiotic/test (n = 42) and a control group (n = 36) took a L. paracasei GMNL-33 and a placebo oral tablet three times per day for 2 weeks, respectively. Bacterial counts of salivary S. mutans, lactobacilli, and salivary buffer capacity were measured with chair-side kits at the beginning (T1), the completion (T2) of medication, and 2 weeks after medication (T3). The results did not show differences in the counts of S. mutans and lactobacilli between probiotic and control groups at T1, T2, and T3. Nevertheless, within the probiotic group, an interesting probiotic effect was noticed. Between T1 and T2, no inhibitory effect against S. mutans was observed. However, a significant count reduction in the salivary S. mutans was detected between T2 and T3 (p = 0.016). Thus, a 2-week period of medication via oral administration route may be needed for L. paracasei GMNL-33 to be effective in the probiotic action.
Probiotic; Lactobacillus paracasei; Streptococcus mutans; Lactobacilli; Salivary buffer capacity
The oral microbial flora consists of many beneficial species of bacteria that are associated with a healthy condition and control the progression of oral disease. Cooperative interactions between oral streptococci and the pathogens play important roles in the development of dental biofilms in the oral cavity. To determine the roles of oral streptococci in multispecies biofilm development and the effects of the streptococci in biofilm formation, the active substances inhibiting Streptococcus mutans biofilm formation were purified from Streptococcus salivarius ATCC 9759 and HT9R culture supernatants using ion exchange and gel filtration chromatography. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry analysis was performed, and the results were compared to databases. The S. salivarius HT9R genome sequence was determined and used to indentify candidate proteins for inhibition. The candidates inhibiting biofilms were identified as S. salivarius fructosyltransferase (FTF) and exo-beta-d-fructosidase (FruA). The activity of the inhibitors was elevated in the presence of sucrose, and the inhibitory effects were dependent on the sucrose concentration in the biofilm formation assay medium. Purified and commercial FruA from Aspergillus niger (31.6% identity and 59.6% similarity to the amino acid sequence of FruA from S. salivarius HT9R) completely inhibited S. mutans GS-5 biofilm formation on saliva-coated polystyrene and hydroxyapatite surfaces. Inhibition was induced by decreasing polysaccharide production, which is dependent on sucrose digestion rather than fructan digestion. The data indicate that S. salivarius produces large quantities of FruA and that FruA alone may play an important role in multispecies microbial interactions for sucrose-dependent biofilm formation in the oral cavity.
Streptococcus mutans is the primary causative agent of human dental caries, a ubiquitous infectious disease for which effective treatment strategies remain elusive. We investigated a 25-kDa SloR metalloregulatory protein in this oral pathogen, along with its target genes that contribute to cariogenesis. Previous studies have demonstrated manganese- and SloR-dependent repression of the sloABCR metal ion transport operon in S. mutans. In the present study, we demonstrate that S. mutans coordinates this repression with that of certain virulence attributes. Specifically, we noted virulence gene repression in a manganese-containing medium when SloR binds to promoter-proximal sequence palindromes on the S. mutans chromosome. We applied a genome-wide approach to elucidate the sequences to which SloR binds and to reveal additional “class I” genes that are subject to SloR- and manganese-dependent repression. These analyses identified 204 S. mutans genes that are preceded by one or more conserved palindromic SloR recognition elements (SREs). We cross-referenced these genes with those that we had identified previously as SloR and/or manganese modulated in microarray and real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) experiments. From this analysis, we identified a number of S. mutans virulence genes that are subject to transcriptional upregulation by SloR and noted that such “class II”-type regulation is dependent on direct SloR binding to promoter-distal SREs. These observations are consistent with a bifunctional role for the SloR metalloregulator and implicate it as a target for the development of therapies aimed at alleviating S. mutans-induced caries formation.
Streptococcus is a dominant genus in the human oral cavity, making up about 20 % of the more than 800 species of bacteria that have been identified, and about 80 % of the early biofilm colonizers. Oral streptococci include both health-compatible (e.g. Streptococcus gordonii and Streptococcus sanguinis) and pathogenic strains (e.g. the cariogenic Streptococcus mutans). Because the streptococci have similar metabolic requirements, they have developed defence strategies that lead to antagonism (also known as bacterial interference). S. mutans expresses bacteriocins that are cytotoxic toward S. gordonii and S. sanguinis, whereas S. gordonii and S. sanguinis differentially produce H2O2 (under aerobic growth conditions), which is relatively toxic toward S. mutans. Superimposed on the inter-bacterial combat are the effects of the host defensive mechanisms. We report here on the multifarious effects of bovine lactoperoxidase (bLPO) on the antagonism between S. gordonii and S. sanguinis versus S. mutans. Some of the effects are apparently counterproductive with respect to maintaining a health-compatible population of streptococci. For example, the bLPO system (comprised of bLPO+SCN−+H2O2) destroys H2O2, thereby abolishing the ability of S. gordonii and S. sanguinis to inhibit the growth of S. mutans. Furthermore, bLPO protein (with or without its substrate) inhibits bacterial growth in a biofilm assay, but sucrose negates the inhibitory effects of the bLPO protein, thereby facilitating adherence of S. mutans in lieu of S. gordonii and S. sanguinis. Our findings may be relevant to environmental pressures that select early supragingival colonizers.
As part of the human gastrointestinal tract, the oral cavity represents a complex biological system and harbors diverse bacterial species. Unlike the gut microbiota which is often considered a health asset, studies of the oral commensal microbial flora have been largely limited to their implication in oral diseases such as dental caries and periodontal diseases; Little emphasis has been given to their potential beneficial roles, especially the protective effects against oral colonization by foreign/pathogenic bacteria. In this study, we used the salivary microbiota derived from healthy human subjects to investigate protective effects against the colonization and integration of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic bacterial pathogen, into developing and pre-formed salivary biofilms. When co-cultivated in saliva medium, P. aeruginosa persisted in the planktonic phase, but failed to integrate into salivary microbial community during biofilm formation. Furthermore, in the saliva medium supplemented with 0.05% (w/v) sucrose, the oral flora inhibited the growth of P. aeruginosa by producing lactic acid. More interestingly, while pre-formed salivary biofilms were able to prevent P. aeruginosa colonization, the same biofilms recovered from mild chlorhexidine gluconate treatment displayed a shift in microbial composition and showed a drastic reduction in protection. Our study indicates that normal oral communities with balanced microbial compositions could be important in effectively preventing the integration of foreign/pathogenic bacterial species, such as P. aeruginosa.
bacterial interference; microbial flora; oral cavity; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; salivary biofilm
Dissemination of oral bacteria into the bloodstream has been associated with eating, oral hygiene, and dental procedures; including tooth extraction, endodontic treatment, and periodontal surgery. Recently, studies identified Streptococcus mutans, the primary etiological agent of dental caries, as the most prevalent bacterial species found in clinical samples from patients who underwent heart valve and atheromatous plaque surgery.
By using antibiotic protection assays, we tested the capacity of 14 strains of S. mutans to invade primary human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC).
Serotype e strain B14 and serotype f strain OMZ175 of S. mutans were able to efficiently invade HCAEC. Among the tested strains, serotype f S. mutans OMZ175 was the most invasive, whereas strains of serotype c S. mutans, the most prevalent serotype in dental plaque, were not invasive. Based on its high invasion rate, we further investigated the invasive properties of serotype f OMZ175. Using transmission electron microscopy and antibiotic protection assays we demonstrate that S. mutans OMZ175 is capable of attaching to the HCAEC surface, entering the cells and surviving in HCAEC for at least 29 h.
Our findings highlight a potential role for S. mutans in the pathogenesis of certain cardiovascular diseases.
invasion; serotype f; Strepococcus mutans
Streptococcus mutans is the major microbial pathogen associated with dental caries in children. The objectives of this study were to design and evaluate species-specific primers for the identification of S. mutans. Validation of the best primer set, Sm479F/R, was performed using 7 S. mutans reference strains, 48 ATCC non-S. mutans strains, 92 S. mutans clinical isolates, DNA samples of S. mutans-S. sobrinus or S. mutans-S. sanguinis, and mixed bacterial DNA of saliva samples from 33 18-month-old children. All of the S. mutans samples tested positive, and no PCR products were amplified from members of the other streptococci or non-streptococci strains examined. The lowest detection level for PCR was 10−2 nanograms of S. mutans DNA (approximately 4.6 × 103 copies) in the test samples. The results of our study suggest that the Sm479F/R primer pair is highly specific and sensitive for identification of S. mutans in either purified or mixed DNA samples.
Streptococcus mutans; PCR; species-specific primer; dental caries
Polymers of D-fructose produced by a variety of oral bacteria are believed to function as extracellular carbohydrate reserves. Degradation of these polysaccharides in plaque following exhaustion of dietary carbohydrates is thought to contribute to the extent and duration of the acid challenge to the tooth surface and thus to the initiation and progression of dental caries. Streptococcus mutans produces a fructanase, the product of the fruA gene, which is capable of degrading beta(2,6)- and beta(2,1)-linked fructans that are commonly synthesized by dental plaque microorganisms. To evaluate the role of the FruA protein in exopolysaccharide metabolism and to assess the contribution of this enzyme to the pathogenic potential of S. mutans, a fructanase-deficient strain of S. mutans was constructed. Inactivation of a cloned fruA gene was accomplished in Escherichia coli by using a mini-Mu dE transposon, and then an isogenic mutant of S. mutans UA159 was constructed by allelic exchange. Successful inactivation of fruA was confirmed through the use of biochemical assays, Western blotting (immunoblotting) with anti-recombinant FruA antisera, and Southern hybridization. The data indicated that FruA was the only fructan hydrolase produced by S. mutans UA159. Inactivation of fruA had no significant effects on glucosyltransferase or fructosyltransferase activity. In the rat caries model using animals fed a high-sucrose diet and ad libitum, there were no significant differences in the number or severity of smooth surface, sulcal, or root caries elicited by the fruA mutant and the wild-type organism.
Xylitol is known to reduce caries by inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans. We hypothesized that xylitol could also affect the growth of other nasopharyngeal bacterial flora, which could be important when considering respiratory infections caused by these bacteria. We studied this in vitro by adding xylitol to the medium and observed that 1 and 5% xylitol reduced markedly the growth of alpha-hemolytic streptococci, including S. pneumoniae. It reduced slightly the growth of beta-hemolytic streptococci but not that of Haemophilus influenzae or Moraxella catarrhalis. The inhibitory growth pattern was similar to that previously seen with S. mutans, which may indicate a similarity in the enzymatic processing of five-carbon sugars such as xylitol. This sugar alcohol is a widely used sweetener, and the concentrations used in our experiments are easily achieved in the oral cavity. If xylitol reduces the growth of S. pneumoniae in the nasopharynx, it could also reduce the carriage of this pathogen and thus have clinical significance in the prevention of pneumococcal diseases.
Common oral diseases and dental caries can be prevented effectively by passive immunization. In humans, passive immunotherapy may require the use of humanized or human antibodies to prevent adverse immune responses against murine epitopes. Therefore we generated human single chain and diabody antibody derivatives based on the binding characteristics of the murine monoclonal antibody Guy's 13. The murine form of this antibody has been used successfully to prevent Streptococcus mutans colonization and the development of dental caries in non-human primates, and to prevent bacterial colonization in human clinical trials.
The antibody derivatives were generated using a chain-shuffling approach based on human antibody variable gene phage-display libraries. Like the parent antibody, these derivatives bound specifically to SAI/II, the surface adhesin of the oral pathogen S. mutans.
Humanization of murine antibodies can be easily achieved using phage display libraries. The human antibody fragments bind the antigen as well as the causative agent of dental caries. In addition the human diabody derivative is capable of aggregating S. mutans in vitro, making it a useful candidate passive immunotherapeutic agent for oral diseases.
The importance of Streptococcus mutans in the etiology of dental caries has been well documented. However, there is growing recognition that the cariogenic potential of dental plaque may be determined by the composite interactions of the total plaque bacteria rather than solely the virulence properties of a single organism. This study will examine how the interactions of S. mutans with other biofilm constituents may influence the cariogenicity of plaque samples.
In order to begin to investigate the effects of nonmutans streptococci on the cariogenic potential of S. mutans, we have examined the effects of Streptococcus gordonii on the virulence properties of the former organisms. These studies have indicated that S.gordonii can attenuate several potential virulence properties of S. mutans including bacteriocin production, genetic transformation, and biofilm formation. Therefore, modulation of the interactions between plaque bacteria might be a novel approach for attenuating dental caries initiation.
The complete genome sequence of Streptococcus mutans, a bacterial pathogen commonly associated with human dental caries, was published in 2002. The streamlined genome (2.03Mb) revealed an organism that was well adapted to its obligately host-associated existence in multispecies biofilms on tooth surfaces; a dynamic environment that undergoes rapid and substantial environmental fluctuations. However, S. mutans lacks many of the sensing systems and alternative sigma factors that bacteria often use to coordinate gene expression in response to stress and changes in their environment. Over the past seven years, functional genomics and proteomics have enhanced our understanding of how S. mutans has integrated the stress regulon and global transcriptional regulators to integrate responses to environmental fluctuations with modulation of virulence in a way that ensures persistence in the oral cavity and capitalizes on conditions that are favorable for the development of dental caries. Here, we highlight advances on dissection of the stress regulon of S. mutans and its intimate interrelationship with pathogenesis.
The oral biofilm community consists of >800 microbial species, among which Streptococcus mutans is considered a primary pathogen for dental caries. The genomic island TnSmu2 of S. mutans comprises >2% of the genome. In this study, we demonstrate that TnSmu2 harbors a gene cluster encoding nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS), polyketide synthases (PKS), and accessory proteins and regulators involved in nonribosomal peptide (NRP) and polyketide (PK) biosynthesis. Interestingly, the sequences of these genes and their genomic organizations and locations are highly divergent among different S. mutans strains, yet each TnSmu2 region encodes NRPS/PKS and accessory proteins. Mutagenesis of the structural genes and putative regulatory genes in strains UA159, UA140, and MT4653 resulted in colonies that were devoid of their yellow pigmentation (for strains UA140 and MT4653). In addition, these mutant strains also displayed retarded growth under aerobic conditions and in the presence of H2O2. High-performance liquid chromatography profiling of cell surface extracts identified unique peaks that were missing in the mutant strains, and partial characterization of the purified product from UA159 demonstrated that it is indeed a hybrid NRP/PK, as predicted. A genomic survey of 94 clinical S. mutans isolates suggests that the TnSmu2 gene cluster may be more prevalent than previously recognized.
The B subunit of cholera toxin (CTB) has been shown to augment mucosal responses to microbial virulence antigens, including those of Streptococcus mutans, which is the principal etiologic agent of dental caries. In the present study, the surface fibrillar protein antigen of S. mutans, antigen I/II (Ag I/II), was chemically coupled to CTB (Ag I/II-CTB), and the conjugate was examined for its effectiveness in inducing salivary immune responses protective against S. mutans infection. Weanling Fischer rats were given Ag I/II-CTB (50 micrograms) by the intranasal route and then orally infected with a virulent strain of S. mutans. Gnotobiotic or conventional rats were given two or three additional immunizations, respectively, at about 2-week intervals. One week after each immunization, individual serum, saliva, and fecal samples were collected and stored frozen until assayed for antibody activity to Ag I/II and cholera toxin (CT) by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The rats were sacrificed 1 week after the last immunization, when mandibles were also collected from individual rats for assessment of S. mutans levels in plaque and caries activity. Rats immunized only or both immunized and infected showed a salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA) anti-Ag I/II response which reached significantly (P < 0.05) higher levels than those seen in nonimmunized, infected controls. A salivary IgA anti-Ag I/II response was also seen in rats infected only with S. mutans. Essentially no salivary antibody activity to CT was detected. Some serum anti-Ag I/II and anti-CT responses were seen in immunized animals. Serum IgG anti-Ag I/II responses were seen in immunized, infected rats and also in infected-only rats, suggesting that the responses were a result of infection with S. mutans. The immunized and infected rats had significantly (P < 0.05) lower levels of S. mutans in plaque and lower caries activity than nonimmunized, infected rats. These results indicated that intranasal immunization of rats with Ag I/II-CTB induced a protective salivary immune response which was associated with a reduction in S. mutans colonization and S. mutans-induced dental caries.
Background and objective
The mechanism by which periodontal pathogens dominate at disease sites is not yet understood. One possibility is that these late colonizers antagonize quorum-sensing systems of early colonizers and render those early colonizers less resistant to environmental factors. In this study, we utilized Streptococcus mutans, a well-documented oral Streptococcus with many quorum-sensing dependent properties, as an example of targeted earlier colonizers that are antagonized by periodontal pathogens.
Material and Methods
S. mutans NG8, LT11, and BM71 were used in this study for assessment of transformation and bacteriocin production, respectively. The effects of Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola on these competence-stimulating peptide (CSP)-dependent properties were evaluated in mixed broth assays.
Both P. gingivalis (either live bacteria or membrane vesicles) and T. denticola antagonized transformation in S. mutans NG8 and LT11. S. mutans BM71 bacteriocin production was also inhibited by P. gingivalis and T. denticola. Boiling of these late colonizers before mixing the broth cultures abolished their ability to inhibit S. mutans transformation and bacteriocin production. P. gingivalis and T. denticola inactivated S. mutans exogenous CSP, whereas the boiled bacteria did not.
This study demonstrated that periodontal pathogens antagonized S. mutans quorum-sensing properties. This may render S. mutans less virulent and less resistant to environmental antibacterial factors.
periodontal pathogen; Porphyromonas gingivalis; Treponema denticola; Streptococcus mutans; quorum sensing
Medicinal plants and probiotics both have very high potential in terms of their antimicrobial activity against antibiotic-resistant enteric pathogens. The probiotics being enteric microorganism do not have any parasitic effect on human beings. They have been an integral part of daily food for centuries. They have been shown to have health beneficiary properties. The probiotics retard the growth of the microorganisms, while essential oil kills them. Combining the effect of medicinal plant extract and probiotics may be a new approach due to their complementary antimicrobial effects and practically no side effects. The synergistic effect of the essential oil and probiotics will be necessarily higher than using them alone as health product.