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1.  A distinct sortase SrtB anchors and processes a streptococcal adhesin AbpA with a novel structural property 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:30966.
Surface display of proteins by sortases in Gram-positive bacteria is crucial for bacterial fitness and virulence. We found a unique gene locus encoding an amylase-binding adhesin AbpA and a sortase B in oral streptococci. AbpA possesses a new distinct C-terminal cell wall sorting signal. We demonstrated that this C-terminal motif is required for anchoring AbpA to cell wall. In vitro and in vivo studies revealed that SrtB has dual functions, anchoring AbpA to the cell wall and processing AbpA into a ladder profile. Solution structure of AbpA determined by NMR reveals a novel structure comprising a small globular α/β domain and an extended coiled-coil heliacal domain. Structural and biochemical studies identified key residues that are crucial for amylase binding. Taken together, our studies document a unique sortase/adhesion substrate system in streptococci adapted to the oral environment rich in salivary amylase.
PMCID: PMC4974636  PMID: 27492581
2.  MyPro: A seamless pipeline for automated prokaryotic genome assembly and annotation 
MyPro is a software pipeline for high-quality prokaryotic genome assembly and annotation. It was validated on 18 oral streptococcal strains to produce submission-ready, annotated draft genomes. MyPro installed as a virtual machine and supported by updated databases will enable biologists to perform quality prokaryotic genome assembly and annotation with ease.
PMCID: PMC4828917  PMID: 25911337
Bioinformatics; Prokaryote; Whole genome sequencing; Assembly; Annotation
3.  Dynamics of the Streptococcus gordonii Transcriptome in Response to Medium, Salivary α-Amylase, and Starch 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2015;81(16):5363-5374.
Streptococcus gordonii, a primary colonizer of the tooth surface, interacts with salivary α-amylase via amylase-binding protein A (AbpA). This enzyme hydrolyzes starch to glucose, maltose, and maltodextrins that can be utilized by various oral bacteria for nutrition. Microarray studies demonstrated that AbpA modulates gene expression in response to amylase, suggesting that the amylase-streptococcal interaction may function in ways other than nutrition. The goal of this study was to explore the role of AbpA in gene regulation through comparative transcriptional profiling of wild-type KS1 and AbpA− mutant KS1ΩabpA under various environmental conditions. A portion of the total RNA isolated from mid-log-phase cells grown in 5% CO2 in (i) complex medium with or without amylase, (ii) defined medium (DM) containing 0.8% glucose with/without amylase, and (iii) DM containing 0.2% glucose and amylase with or without starch was reverse transcribed to cDNA and the rest used for RNA sequencing. Changes in the expression of selected genes were validated by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. Maltodextrin-associated genes, fatty acid synthesis genes and competence genes were differentially expressed in a medium-dependent manner. Genes in another cluster containing a putative histidine kinase/response regulator, peptide methionine sulfoxide reductase, thioredoxin protein, lipoprotein, and cytochrome c-type protein were downregulated in KS1ΩabpA under all of the environmental conditions tested. Thus, AbpA appears to modulate genes associated with maltodextrin utilization/transport and fatty acid synthesis. Importantly, in all growth conditions AbpA was associated with increased expression of a potential two-component signaling system associated with genes involved in reducing oxidative stress, suggesting a role in signal transduction and stress tolerance.
PMCID: PMC4510181  PMID: 26025889
4.  Novel Iron- and Fur-Regulated Small Regulatory RNAs in Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans 
Molecular oral microbiology  2012;27(5):327-349.
Iron can regulate biofilm formation via non-coding small RNA (sRNA). To determine if iron-regulated sRNAs are involved in biofilm formation by the periodontopathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, total RNA was isolated from bacteria cultured with iron supplementation or chelation. Transcriptional analysis demonstrated that the expression of four sRNA molecules (JA01-JA04) identified by bioinformatics was significantly up-regulated in iron-stressed medium compared to iron-rich medium. A DNA fragment encoding each sRNA promoter was able to titrate E. coli Fur from a Fur-repressible reporter fusion in an iron uptake regulator titration assay. Cell lysates containing recombinant AaFur shifted the mobility of sRNA-specific DNAs in a gel shift assay. Potential targets of these sRNAs, determined in silico, included genes involved in biofilm formation. A. actinomycetemcomitans overexpressing JA03 sRNA maintained a rough phenotype on agar, but no longer adhered to uncoated polystyrene or glass, although biofilm determinant gene expression was only modestly decreased. In summary, these sRNA have the ability to modulate biofilm formation, but their functional targets genes remain to be confirmed.
PMCID: PMC3442931  PMID: 22958383
iron; Fur; sRNA; biofilm; regulation; transcription
5.  Genetic relationships between Candida albicans strains isolated from dental plaque, trachea, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from mechanically ventilated intensive care unit patients 
Journal of Oral Microbiology  2011;3:10.3402/jom.v3i0.6362.
Candida albicans often resides in the oral cavity of healthy humans as a harmless commensal organism. This opportunistic fungus can cause significant disease in critically ill patients, such as those undergoing mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit (ICU) having compromised local airway defense mechanisms. The goal of this study was to determine the intra- and inter-patient genetic relationship between strains of C. albicans recovered from dental plaque, tracheal secretions, and the lower airway by bronchoalveolar lavage of patients undergoing mechanical ventilation. Three pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) typing methods were used to determine the genetic relatedness of the C. albicans strains, including electrophoretic karyotyping (EK) and restriction endonuclease analysis of the genome using SfiI (REAG-S) and BssHII (REAG-B). The C. albicans isolates from dental plaque and tracheo-bronchial sites from the same patient were genetically indistinguishable and retained over time, whereas strains from different patients usually separated into different genotypes. Among the three methods, REAG-B proved to be the most discriminatory method to differentiate isolates. The finding of genetically similar strains from the oral and tracheo-bronchial sites from the same patient supports the notion that the oral cavity may serve as an important source for C. albicans spread to the trachea and lung of mechanically ventilated patients.
PMCID: PMC3124833  PMID: 21731911
yeast; pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE); molecular epidemiology; mechanical ventilation; oral cavity
6.  Draft Genome Sequences of 18 Oral Streptococcus Strains That Encode Amylase-Binding Proteins 
Genome Announcements  2015;3(3):e00510-15.
A number of commensal oral streptococcal species produce a heterogeneous group of proteins that mediate binding of salivary α-amylase. This interaction likely influences streptococcal colonization of the oral cavity. Here, we present draft genome sequences of several strains of oral streptococcal species that bind human salivary amylase.
PMCID: PMC4440966  PMID: 25999552
7.  Host Defense Proteins Derived from Human Saliva Bind to Staphylococcus aureus 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(4):1364-1373.
Proteins in human saliva are thought to modulate bacterial colonization of the oral cavity. Yet, information is sparse on how salivary proteins interact with systemic pathogens that transiently or permanently colonize the oral environment. Staphylococcus aureus is a pathogen that frequently colonizes the oral cavity and can cause respiratory disease in hospitalized patients at risk. Here, we investigated salivary protein binding to this organism upon exposure to saliva as a first step toward understanding the mechanism by which the organism can colonize the oral cavity of vulnerable patients. By using fluorescently labeled saliva and proteomic techniques, we demonstrated selective binding of major salivary components by S. aureus to include DMBT1gp-340, mucin-7, secretory component, immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin G, S100-A9, and lysozyme C. Biofilm-grown S. aureus strains bound fewer salivary components than in the planctonic state, particularly less salivary immunoglobulins. A corresponding adhesive component on the S. aureus surface responsible for binding salivary immunoglobulins was identified as staphylococcal protein A (SpA). However, SpA did not mediate binding of nonimmunoglobulin components, including mucin-7, indicating the involvement of additional bacterial surface adhesive components. These findings demonstrate that a limited number of salivary proteins, many of which are associated with various aspects of host defense, selectively bind to S. aureus and lead us to propose a possible role of saliva in colonization of the human mouth by this pathogen.
PMCID: PMC3639616  PMID: 23403559
8.  Taking the Starch out of Oral Biofilm Formation: Molecular Basis and Functional Significance of Salivary α-Amylase Binding to Oral Streptococci 
α-Amylase-binding streptococci (ABS) are a heterogeneous group of commensal oral bacterial species that comprise a significant proportion of dental plaque microfloras. Salivary α-amylase, one of the most abundant proteins in human saliva, binds to the surface of these bacteria via specific surface-exposed α-amylase-binding proteins. The functional significance of α-amylase-binding proteins in oral colonization by streptococci is important for understanding how salivary components influence oral biofilm formation by these important dental plaque species. This review summarizes the results of an extensive series of studies that have sought to define the molecular basis for α-amylase binding to the surface of the bacterium as well as the biological significance of this phenomenon in dental plaque biofilm formation.
PMCID: PMC3553756  PMID: 23144140
9.  Genetic Relationships between Respiratory Pathogens Isolated from Dental Plaque and Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid from Patients in the Intensive Care Unit Undergoing Mechanical Ventilation 
Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients hospitalized in intensive care units. Recent studies suggest that dental plaque biofilms serve as a reservoir for respiratory pathogens. The goal of this study was to determine the genetic relationship between strains of respiratory pathogens first isolated from the oral cavity and later isolated from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from the same patient undergoing mechanical ventilation with suspected VAP.
Plaque and tracheal secretion samples were obtained on the day of hospital admission and every other day thereafter until discharge from the intensive care unit from 100 patients who underwent mechanical ventilation. Bronchoalveolar lavage was performed for 30 patients with suspected VAP. Pulse-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing were used to determine the genetic relatedness of strains obtained from oral, tracheal, and bronchoalveolar lavage samples.
Isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter species, and enteric species recovered from plaque from most patients were indistinguishable from isolates recovered from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (i.e., had >95% similarity of pulse-field gel electrophoresis patterns). Nearly one-half of the Pseudomonas strains showed identical genetic profiles between patients, which suggested a common environmental source of infection.
Respiratory pathogens isolated from the lung are often genetically indistinguishable from strains of the same species isolated from the oral cavity in patients who receive mechanical ventilation who are admitted to the hospital from the community. Thus, dental plaque serves as an important reservoir for respiratory pathogens in patients who undergo mechanical ventilation.
Trial registration identifier: NCT00123123
PMCID: PMC3582026  PMID: 18991508
10.  Response of Fatty Acid Synthesis Genes to the Binding of Human Salivary Amylase by Streptococcus gordonii 
Streptococcus gordonii, an important primary colonizer of dental plaque biofilm, specifically binds to salivary amylase via the surface-associated amylase-binding protein A (AbpA). We hypothesized that a function of amylase binding to S. gordonii may be to modulate the expression of chromosomal genes, which could influence bacterial survival and persistence in the oral cavity. Gene expression profiling by microarray analysis was performed to detect genes in S. gordonii strain CH1 that were differentially expressed in response to the binding of purified human salivary amylase versus exposure to purified heat-denatured amylase. Selected genes found to be differentially expressed were validated by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR). Five genes from the fatty acid synthesis (FAS) cluster were highly (10- to 35-fold) upregulated in S. gordonii CH1 cells treated with native amylase relative to those treated with denatured amylase. An abpA-deficient strain of S. gordonii exposed to amylase failed to show a response in FAS gene expression similar to that observed in the parental strain. Predicted phenotypic effects of amylase binding to S. gordonii strain CH1 (associated with increased expression of FAS genes, leading to changes in fatty acid synthesis) were noted; these included increased bacterial growth, survival at low pH, and resistance to triclosan. These changes were not observed in the amylase-exposed abpA-deficient strain, suggesting a role for AbpA in the amylase-induced phenotype. These results provide evidence that the binding of salivary amylase elicits a differential gene response in S. gordonii, resulting in a phenotypic adjustment that is potentially advantageous for bacterial survival in the oral environment.
PMCID: PMC3298122  PMID: 22247133
11.  Identification and characterization of amylase binding protein C (AbpC) from Streptococcus mitis NS51 
Molecular oral microbiology  2010;25(2):150-156.
A substantial proportion of the streptococcal species found in dental plaque biofilms are able to interact with the abundant salivary enzyme α-amylase. These streptococci produce proteins that specifically bind amylase. An important plaque species, Streptococcus mitis, secretes a 36-kDa amylase binding protein into the extracellular milieu. Proteins precipitated from S. mitis NS51 cell culture supernatant by the addition of purified salivary amylase were separated by SDS-PAGE, transferred to a membrane, and a prominent 36-kDa band was cut from the membrane and sequencedto yield N-terminal amino acid sequence DSQAQYSNGV. Search of the S. mitis genome sequence database revealed a single open reading frame containing this sequence, and the gene was amplified from S. mitis genomic DNA polymerase chain reaction. The coding region of this ORF, designated amylase-binding protein C (AbpC), was cloned into an Escherichia coli expression vectorand the recombinant AbpC protein (rAbpC) was purified from the soluble fraction of E. coli cell lysate. Purified AbpC was found to interact with immobilized amylase, thus confirming AbpC as a new streptococcal amylase-binding protein.
PMCID: PMC2862347  PMID: 20331802
Dental plaque; Saliva
12.  Transcriptional and Translational Analysis of Biofilm Determinants of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans in Response to Environmental Perturbation ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2009;77(7):2896-2907.
Fimbriae, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) all contribute to biofilm formation by the periodontopathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. To understand how individual biofilm determinants respond to changing environmental conditions, the transcription of genes responsible for fimbria, LPS, and EPS production, as well as the translation of these components, was determined in rough (Rv) and isogenic smooth (Sv) variants of A. actinomycetemcomitans cultured in half-strength and full-strength culture medium under anaerobic or aerobic conditions, and in iron-supplemented and iron-chelated medium. The transcription of tadV (fimbrial assembly), pgaC (extracellular polysaccharide synthesis), and orf8 or rmlB (lipopolysaccharide synthesis) was measured by real-time PCR. The amounts of fimbriae, LPS, and EPS were also estimated from stained sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels and verified by Western blotting and enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay using specific antibodies. Each gene was significantly upregulated in the Rv compared to in the Sv. The transcription of fimbrial, LPS, and EPS genes in the Rv was increased approximately twofold in cells cultured in full-strength medium under anaerobic conditions compared to that in cells cultured under aerobic conditions. Under anaerobic conditions, the transcription of fimbrial and EPS enzymes was elevated in both Rv and Sv cells cultured in half-strength medium, compared to that in full-strength medium. Iron chelation also increased the transcription and translation of all biofilm determinants compared to their expression with iron supplementation, yet the quantity of biofilm was not significantly changed by any environmental perturbation except iron limitation. Thus, anaerobic conditions, nutrient stress, and iron limitation each upregulate known biofilm determinants of A. actinomycetemcomitans to contribute to biofilm formation.
PMCID: PMC2708548  PMID: 19433550
13.  Amylase-Binding Protein B of Streptococcus gordonii Is an Extracellular Dipeptidyl-Peptidase▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(10):4530-4537.
The oral commensal bacterium Streptococcus gordonii interacts with salivary amylase via two amylase-binding proteins, AbpA and AbpB. Based on sequence analysis, the 20-kDa AbpA protein is unique to S. gordonii, whereas the 82-kDa AbpB protein appears to share sequence homology with other bacterial dipeptidases. The aim of this study was to verify the peptidase activity of AbpB and further explore its potential functions. The abpB gene was cloned, and histidine-tagged AbpB (His-AbpB) was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. Its amylase-binding activity was verified in an amylase ligand binding assay, and its cross-reactivity was verified with an anti-AbpB antibody. Both recombinant His-AbpB and partially purified native AbpB displayed dipeptidase activity and degraded human type VI collagen and fibrinogen, but not salivary amylase. Salivary amylase precipitates not only AbpA and AbpB but also glucosyltransferase G (Gtf-G) from S. gordonii supernatants. Since Streptococcus mutans also releases Gtf enzymes that could also be involved in multispecies plaque interactions, the effect of S. gordonii AbpB on S. mutans Gtf-B activity was also tested. Salivary amylase and/or His-AbpB caused a 1.4- to 2-fold increase of S. mutans Gtf-B sucrase activity and a 3- to 6-fold increase in transferase activity. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay verified the interaction of His-AbpB and amylase with Gtf-B. In summary, AbpB demonstrates proteolytic activity and interacts with and modulates Gtf activity. These activities may help explain the crucial role AbpB appears to play in S. gordonii oral colonization.
PMCID: PMC2546850  PMID: 18678669
14.  Prevalence of the Amylase-Binding Protein A Gene (abpA) in Oral Streptococci 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(12):4081-4085.
Salivary amylase binds specifically to a number of oral streptococcal species. This interaction may play an important role in dental plaque formation. Recently, a 585-bp gene was cloned and sequenced from Streptococcus gordonii Challis encoding a 20.5-kDa amylase-binding protein (AbpA). The goal of this study was to determine if related genes are present in other species of oral streptococci. Biotinylated abpA was used in Southern blot analysis to screen genomic DNA from several strains representing eight species of oral streptococci. This probe hybridized with a 4.0-kb HindIII restriction fragment from all 13 strains of S. gordonii tested. The probe did not appear to bind to any restriction fragments from other species of amylase-binding oral streptococci including Streptococcus mitis (with the exception of 1 of 14 strains), Streptococcus crista (3 strains), Streptococcus anginosus (1 strain), and Streptococcus parasanguinis (1 strain), or to non-amylase-binding oral streptococci including Streptococcus sanguinis (3 strains), Streptococcus oralis (4 strains), and Streptococcus mutans (1 strain). Primers homologous to sequences within the 3′ and 5′ ends of abpA yielded products of 400 bp following PCR of genomic DNA from the Southern blot-positive strains. Several of these PCR products were cloned and sequenced. The levels of similarity of these cloned products to the abpA of S. gordonii Challis ranged from 91 to 96%. These studies reveal that the abpA gene appears to be specific to S. gordonii and differs from genes encoding amylase-binding proteins from other species of amylase-binding streptococci.
PMCID: PMC85885  PMID: 10565935
15.  Identification and Molecular Analysis of Rough-Colony-Specific Outer Membrane Proteins of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(6):2901-2908.
Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, a gram-negative bacterium isolated from the human mouth, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of early-onset periodontitis. Primary isolates cultured from subgingival plaque exhibit an adherent, rough colony phenotype which spontaneously converts to a nonadherent, smooth phenotype upon in vitro subculture. The rough colony variant produces abundant fimbriae and autoaggregates, while the smooth colony variant is planktonic and produces scant fimbriae. To begin to understand the significance of colony variation in biofilm formation by A. actinomycetemcomitans, outer membrane protein profiles of four isogenic rough and smooth colony variants were compared by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Two proteins with relative molecular masses of 43 and 20 kDa were expressed by the rough colony variants exclusively. Expression of these proteins was not found to be dependent on growth phase, oxygen tension, or type of complex medium. N-terminal amino acid sequences of these proteins obtained by Edman degradation were compared with sequences from the University of Oklahoma A. actinomycetemcomitans genome database. Two contiguous open reading frames (ORFs) encoding proteins having sequence homology with these proteins were identified. The 43-kDa protein (RcpA [rough colony protein A]) was similar to precursor protein D of the general secretion pathway of gram-negative bacilli, while the 20-kDa protein (RcpB [rough colony protein B]) appeared to be unique. The genes encoding these proteins have been cloned from A. actinomycetemcomitans 283 and sequenced. A BLASTX (gapped BLAST) search of the surrounding ORFs revealed homology with other fimbria-related proteins. These data suggest that the genes encoding the 43-kDa (rcpA) and 20-kDa (rcpB) proteins may be functionally related to each other and to genes that may encode fimbria-associated proteins.
PMCID: PMC96598  PMID: 10338497

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