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author:("Shi, wengyuan")
1.  Phenotypic and physiological characterization of the epibiotic interaction between TM7x and its basibiont Actinomyces 
Microbial ecology  2015;71(1):243-255.
Despite many examples of obligate epibiotic symbiosis (one organism living on the surface of another) in nature, such an interaction has rarely been observed between two bacteria. Here, we further characterize a newly reported interaction between a human oral obligate parasitic bacterium TM7x (cultivated member of Candidatus Saccharimonas formerly Candidate Phylum TM7), and its basibiont Actinomyces odontolyticus species (XH001), providing a model system to study epiparasitic symbiosis in the domain Bacteria. Detailed microscopic studies indicate that both partners display extensive morphological changes during symbiotic growth. XH001 cells manifested as short rods in monoculture, but displayed elongated and hyphal morphology when physically associated with TM7x. Interestingly, these dramatic morphological changes in XH001 were also induced in oxygen-depleted conditions, even in the absence of TM7x. Targeted qRT-PCR analyses revealed that both the physical association with TM7x as well as oxygen depletion triggered up-regulation of key stress response genes in XH001, and in combination, these conditions act in an additive manner. TM7x and XH001 co-exist with relatively uniform cell morphologies under nutrient-replete conditions. However, upon nutrient depletion, TM7x-associated XH001 displayed a variety of cell morphologies, including swollen cell body, clubbed ends and even cell lysis, and a large portion of TM7x cells transformed from ultrasmall cocci into elongated cells. Our study demonstrates a highly dynamic interaction between epibiont TM7x and its basibiont XH001 in response to physical association or environmental cues such as oxygen level and nutritional status, as reflected by their morphological and physiological changes during symbiotic growth.
PMCID: PMC4688200  PMID: 26597961
Obligate; epibiont; symbiosis; bacterial interaction; TM7; Actinomyces
2.  The Denture-Associated Oral Microbiome in Health and Stomatitis 
mSphere  2016;1(6):e00215-16.
Denture stomatitis is a prevalent inflammatory condition of the mucosal tissue in denture wearers that is triggered by microorganisms. While Candida has been extensively studied for its role in stomatitis etiology, the bacterial component largely remains to be investigated. Our data show that certain types of bacteria are significantly associated with denture health and disease. Furthermore, the bacterial communities residing on the teeth and dentures of the same person are similar to each other independently of the surface, and thus, denture health could impact the maintenance of remaining teeth and vice versa.
While investigation of the microbiome on natural oral surfaces has generated a wealth of information, few studies have examined the microbial communities colonizing dentures and their relationship to oral health. To address this knowledge gap, we characterized the bacterial community associated with dentures and remaining teeth in healthy individuals and patients with denture stomatitis. The microbiome compositions of matched denture and tooth plaque samples of 10 healthy individuals and 9 stomatitis patients were determined by 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. The microbial communities colonizing dentures and remaining teeth in health and disease were very similar to each other. Matched denture and tooth samples from the same individuals shared a significantly higher percentage of identical phylotypes than random pairs of samples from different study participants. Despite these overall similarities, several bacterial phylotypes displayed discrete health- and stomatitis-associated denture colonization, while others were distinct in health and disease independently of the surface. Certain phylotypes exhibited differential colonization of dentures and teeth independently of denture health status. In conclusion, denture and natural tooth surfaces in health and stomatitis harbor similar bacterial communities. Individual-related rather than surface-specific factors play a significant role in the bacterial phylotype composition colonizing dentures and teeth. This individual-specific mutual influence on denture and tooth surface colonization could be an important factor in maintaining oral health in denture wearers. Discrete differences in colonization patterns for distinct genera and phylotypes warrant further studies regarding their potential involvement or utility as specific indicators of health and disease development in denture-wearing individuals.
IMPORTANCE Denture stomatitis is a prevalent inflammatory condition of the mucosal tissue in denture wearers that is triggered by microorganisms. While Candida has been extensively studied for its role in stomatitis etiology, the bacterial component largely remains to be investigated. Our data show that certain types of bacteria are significantly associated with denture health and disease. Furthermore, the bacterial communities residing on the teeth and dentures of the same person are similar to each other independently of the surface, and thus, denture health could impact the maintenance of remaining teeth and vice versa.
PMCID: PMC5196032  PMID: 28066812
bacteria; denture; microbiome; stomatitis
3.  Effect of UV-photofunctionalization on Oral Bacterial Attachment and Biofilm Formation to Titanium Implant Material 
Biomaterials  2015;67:84-92.
Bacterial biofilm infections remain prevalent reasons for implant failure. Dental implant placement occurs in the oral environment, which harbors a plethora of biofilm-forming bacteria. Due to its trans-mucosal placement, part of the implant structure is exposed to oral cavity and there is no effective measure to prevent bacterial attachment to implant materials. Here, we demonstrated that UV treatment of titanium immediately prior to use (photofunctionalization) affects the ability of human polymicrobial oral biofilm communities to colonize in the presence of salivary and blood components. UV-treatment of machined titanium transformed the surface from hydrophobic to superhydrophilic. UV-treated surfaces exhibited a significant reduction in bacterial attachment as well as subsequent biofilm formation compared to untreated ones, even though overall bacterial viability was not affected. The function of reducing bacterial colonization was maintained on UV-treated titanium that had been stored in a liquid environment before use. Denaturing gradient gel-electrophoresis (DGGE) and DNA sequencing analyses revealed that while bacterial community profiles appeared different between UV-treated and untreated titanium in the initial attachment phase, this difference vanished as biofilm formation progressed. Our findings confirm that UV-photofunctionalization of titanium has a strong potential to improve outcome of implant placement by creating and maintaining antimicrobial surfaces.
PMCID: PMC4667792  PMID: 26210175
Photofunctionalization; titanium; bacteria; biofilm; peri-implantitis
4.  Morphological and physiological changes induced by contact-dependent interaction between Candida albicans and Fusobacterium nucleatum 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:27956.
Candida albicans and Fusobacterium nucleatum are well-studied oral commensal microbes with pathogenic potential that are involved in various oral polymicrobial infectious diseases. Recently, we demonstrated that F. nucleatum ATCC 23726 coaggregates with C. albicans SN152, a process mainly mediated by fusobacterial membrane protein RadD and Candida cell wall protein Flo9. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential biological impact of this inter-kingdom interaction. We found that F. nucleatum ATCC 23726 inhibits growth and hyphal morphogenesis of C. albicans SN152 in a contact-dependent manner. Further analysis revealed that the inhibition of Candida hyphal morphogenesis is mediated via RadD and Flo9 protein pair. Using a murine macrophage cell line, we showed that the F. nucleatum-induced inhibition of Candida hyphal morphogenesis promotes C. albicans survival and negatively impacts the macrophage-killing capability of C. albicans. Furthermore, the yeast form of C. albicans repressed F. nucleatum-induced MCP-1 and TNFα production in macrophages. Our study suggests that the interaction between C. albicans and F. nucleatum leads to a mutual attenuation of virulence, which may function to promote a long-term commensal lifestyle within the oral cavity. This finding has significant implications for our understanding of inter-kingdom interaction and may impact clinical treatment strategies.
PMCID: PMC4906402  PMID: 27295972
5.  Influenza Virus Affects Intestinal Microbiota and Secondary Salmonella Infection in the Gut through Type I Interferons 
PLoS Pathogens  2016;12(5):e1005572.
Human influenza viruses replicate almost exclusively in the respiratory tract, yet infected individuals may also develop gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea. However, the molecular mechanisms remain incompletely defined. Using an influenza mouse model, we found that influenza pulmonary infection can significantly alter the intestinal microbiota profile through a mechanism dependent on type I interferons (IFN-Is). Notably, influenza-induced IFN-Is produced in the lungs promote the depletion of obligate anaerobic bacteria and the enrichment of Proteobacteria in the gut, leading to a “dysbiotic” microenvironment. Additionally, we provide evidence that IFN-Is induced in the lungs during influenza pulmonary infection inhibit the antimicrobial and inflammatory responses in the gut during Salmonella-induced colitis, further enhancing Salmonella intestinal colonization and systemic dissemination. Thus, our studies demonstrate a systemic role for IFN-Is in regulating the host immune response in the gut during Salmonella-induced colitis and in altering the intestinal microbial balance after influenza infection.
Author Summary
Influenza is a respiratory illness. Symptoms of flu include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. Some people, especially children, can have additional gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In humans, there is no evidence that the influenza virus replicates in the intestine. Using an influenza mouse model, we found that influenza infection alters the intestinal microbial community through a mechanism dependent on type I interferons induced in the pulmonary tract. Futhermore, we demonstrate that influenza-induced type I interferons increase the host susceptibility to Salmonella intestinal colonization and dissemination during secondary Salmonella-induced colitis through suppression of host intestinal immunity.
PMCID: PMC4858270  PMID: 27149619
6.  Interplay between type IV pili activity and exopolysaccharides secretion controls motility patterns in single cells of Myxococcus xanthus 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:17790.
Myxococcus xanthus performs coordinated social motility of cell groups through the extension and retraction of type IV pili (TFP) on solid surfaces, which requires both TFP and exopolysaccharides (EPS). By submerging cells in a liquid medium containing 1% methylcellulose, M. xanthus TFP-driven motility was induced in isolated cells and independently of EPS. We measured and analyzed the movements of cells using community tracking algorithms, which combine single-cell resolution with statistics from large sample populations. Cells without significant multi-cellular social interactions have surprisingly complex behaviors: EPS− cells exhibited a pronounced increase in the tendency to stand vertically and moved with qualitatively different characteristics than other cells. A decrease in the EPS secretion of cells correlates with a higher instantaneous velocity, but with lower directional persistence in trajectories. Moreover, EPS− cells do not adhere to the surface as strongly as wild-type and EPS overproducing cells, and display a greater tendency to have large deviations between the direction of movement and the cell axis, with cell velocity showing only minimal dependence on the direction of movement. The emerging picture is that EPS does not simply provide rheological resistance to a single mechanism but rather that the availability of EPS impacts motility pattern.
PMCID: PMC4731782  PMID: 26821939
7.  The well-coordinated linkage between acidogenicity and aciduricity via insoluble glucans on the surface of Streptococcus mutans 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:18015.
Streptococcus mutans is considered the principal cariogenic bacterium for dental caries. Despite the recognition of their importance for cariogenesis, the possible coordination among S. mutans’ main virulence factors, including glucan production, acidogenicity and aciduricity, has been less well studied. In the present study, using S. mutans strains with surface-displayed pH-sensitive pHluorin, we revealed sucrose availability- and Gtf functionality-dependent proton accumulation on S. mutans surface. Consistent with this, using a pH-sensitive dye, we demonstrated that both in vivo cell-produced and in vitro enzymatically synthesized insoluble glucans displayed proton-concentrating ability. Global transcriptomics revealed proton accumulation triggers the up-regulation of genes encoding functions involved in acid tolerance response in a glucan-dependent manner. Our data suggested that this proton enrichment around S. mutans could pre-condition the bacterium for acid-stress. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found S. mutans strains defective in glucan production were more acid sensitive. Our study revealed for the first time that insoluble glucans is likely an essential factor linking acidogenicity with aciduricity. The coordination of these key virulence factors could provide new insights on how S. mutans may have become a major cariogenic pathogen.
PMCID: PMC4675080  PMID: 26657939
8.  Meta-omics uncover temporal regulation of pathways across oral microbiome genera during in vitro sugar metabolism 
The ISME Journal  2015;9(12):2605-2619.
Dental caries, one of the most globally widespread infectious diseases, is intimately linked to pH dynamics. In supragingival plaque, after the addition of a carbohydrate source, bacterial metabolism decreases the pH which then subsequently recovers. Molecular mechanisms supporting this important homeostasis are poorly characterized in part due to the fact that there are hundreds of active species in dental plaque. Only a few mechanisms (for example, lactate fermentation, the arginine deiminase system) have been identified and studied in detail. Here, we conducted what is to our knowledge, the first full transcriptome and metabolome analysis of a diverse oral plaque community by using a functionally and taxonomically robust in vitro model system greater than 100 species. Differential gene expression analyses from the complete transcriptome of 14 key community members revealed highly varied regulation of both known and previously unassociated pH-neutralizing pathways as a response to the pH drop. Unique expression and metabolite signatures from 400 detected metabolites were found for each stage along the pH curve suggesting it may be possible to define healthy and diseased states of activity. Importantly, for the maintenance of healthy plaque pH, gene transcription activity of known and previously unrecognized pH-neutralizing pathways was associated with the genera Lactobacillus, Veillonella and Streptococcus during the pH recovery phase. Our in vitro study provides a baseline for defining healthy and disease-like states and highlights the power of moving beyond single and dual species applications to capture key players and their orchestrated metabolic activities within a complex human oral microbiome model.
PMCID: PMC4817640  PMID: 26023872
9.  Nanodiamond–Gutta Percha Composite Biomaterials for Root Canal Therapy 
ACS Nano  2015;9(11):11490-11501.
Root canal therapy (RCT) represents a standard of treatment that addresses infected pulp tissue in teeth and protects against future infection. RCT involves removing dental pulp comprising blood vessels and nerve tissue, decontaminating residually infected tissue through biomechanical instrumentation, and root canal obturation using a filler material to replace the space that was previously composed of dental pulp. Gutta percha (GP) is typically used as the filler material, as it is malleable, inert, and biocompatible. While filling the root canal space with GP is the standard of care for endodontic therapies, it has exhibited limitations including leakage, root canal reinfection, and poor mechanical properties. To address these challenges, clinicians have explored the use of alternative root filling materials other than GP. Among the classes of materials that are being explored as novel endodontic therapy platforms, nanodiamonds (NDs) may offer unique advantages due to their favorable properties, particularly for dental applications. These include versatile faceted surface chemistry, biocompatibility, and their role in improving mechanical properties, among others. This study developed a ND-embedded GP (NDGP) that was functionalized with amoxicillin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic commonly used for endodontic infection. Comprehensive materials characterization confirmed improved mechanical properties of NDGP over unmodified GP. In addition, digital radiography and microcomputed tomography imaging demonstrated that obturation of root canals with NDGP could be achieved using clinically relevant techniques. Furthermore, bacterial growth inhibition assays confirmed drug functionality of NDGP functionalized with amoxicillin. This study demonstrates a promising path toward NDGP implementation in future endodontic therapy for improved treatment outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4660386  PMID: 26452304
nanomedicine; dentistry; biomaterials; drug delivery; root canal therapy; gutta percha; endodontics
10.  Phylogenetic and functional gene structure shifts of the oral microbiomes in periodontitis patients 
The ISME Journal  2014;8(9):1879-1891.
Determining the composition and function of subgingival dental plaque is crucial to understanding human periodontal health and disease, but it is challenging because of the complexity of the interactions between human microbiomes and human body. Here, we examined the phylogenetic and functional gene differences between periodontal and healthy individuals using MiSeq sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons and a specific functional gene array (a combination of GeoChip 4.0 for biogeochemical processes and HuMiChip 1.0 for human microbiomes). Our analyses indicated that the phylogenetic and functional gene structure of the oral microbiomes were distinctly different between periodontal and healthy groups. Also, 16S rRNA gene sequencing analysis indicated that 39 genera were significantly different between healthy and periodontitis groups, and Fusobacterium, Porphyromonas, Treponema, Filifactor, Eubacterium, Tannerella, Hallella, Parvimonas, Peptostreptococcus and Catonella showed higher relative abundances in the periodontitis group. In addition, functional gene array data showed that a lower gene number but higher signal intensity of major genes existed in periodontitis, and a variety of genes involved in virulence factors, amino acid metabolism and glycosaminoglycan and pyrimidine degradation were enriched in periodontitis, suggesting their potential importance in periodontal pathogenesis. However, the genes involved in amino acid synthesis and pyrimidine synthesis exhibited a significantly lower relative abundance compared with healthy group. Overall, this study provides new insights into our understanding of phylogenetic and functional gene structure of subgingival microbial communities of periodontal patients and their importance in pathogenesis of periodontitis.
PMCID: PMC4139721  PMID: 24671083
functional gene array; Illumina sequencing; periodontitis; subgingival dental plaque
11.  Characterization of aid1, a novel gene involved in Fusobacterium nucleatum interspecies interactions 
Microbial ecology  2014;68(2):379-387.
The oral opportunistic pathogen Fusobacterium nucleatum is known to interact with a large number of different bacterial species residing in the oral cavity. It adheres to a variety of Gram-positive bacteria, including oral streptococci via the arginine-inhibitable adhesin RadD. In this study, we describe a novel protein encoded by the predicted open reading frame FN1253 that appears to play a role in interspecies interactions of F. nucleatum, particularly with oral streptococci and related Gram-positive species. We designated FN1253 as aid1 (Adherence Inducing Determinant 1). Expression analyses demonstrated that this gene was induced in F. nucleatum single species biofilms, while the presence of representative members of the oral microbiota known to adhere to F. nucleatum triggered its suppression. Inactivation as well as overexpression of aid1 affected the ability of F. nucleatum to coaggregate with oral streptococci and the closely related Enterococcus faecalis, but not other Gram-positive oral species tested. Furthermore, overexpression of aid1 led to a drastic change in the structure of dual species biofilms of F. nucleatum with oral streptococci. Aid1 function was abolished in the presence of arginine and found to be dependent on RadD. Interestingly, differential expression of aid1 did not affect mRNA and protein levels of RadD. These findings indicate that RadD-mediated adhesion to oral streptococci involves more complex cellular processes than the simple interaction of adhesins on the surface of partner strains. Aid1 could potentially play an important role in facilitating RadD-mediated interaction with oral streptococci by increasing binding specificity of F. nucleatum to other microbial species.
PMCID: PMC4104215  PMID: 24643713
F. nucleatum; oral streptococci; interspecies interaction; RadD
12.  The social structure of microbial community involved in colonization resistance 
The ISME Journal  2013;8(3):564-574.
It is well established that host-associated microbial communities can interfere with the colonization and establishment of microbes of foreign origins, a phenomenon often referred to as bacterial interference or colonization resistance. However, due to the complexity of the indigenous microbiota, it has been extremely difficult to elucidate the community colonization resistance mechanisms and identify the bacterial species involved. In a recent study, we have established an in vitro mice oral microbial community (O-mix) and demonstrated its colonization resistance against an Escherichia coli strain of mice gut origin. In this study, we further analyzed the community structure of the O-mix by using a dilution/regrowth approach and identified the bacterial species involved in colonization resistance against E. coli. Our results revealed that, within the O-mix there were three different types of bacterial species forming unique social structure. They act as ‘Sensor', ‘Mediator' and ‘Killer', respectively, and have coordinated roles in initiating the antagonistic action and preventing the integration of E. coli. The functional role of each identified bacterial species was further confirmed by E. coli-specific responsiveness of the synthetic communities composed of different combination of the identified players. The study reveals for the first time the sophisticated structural and functional organization of a colonization resistance pathway within a microbial community. Furthermore, our results emphasize the importance of ‘Facilitation' or positive interactions in the development of community-level functions, such as colonization resistance.
PMCID: PMC3930314  PMID: 24088624
colonization resistance; microbial community; social structure; host-associated microbiota; facilitation
13.  Development of In Vitro Denture Biofilm Models for Halitosis Related Bacteria and their Application in Testing the Efficacy of Antimicrobial Agents 
The Open Dentistry Journal  2015;9:125-131.
Objective : Since dentures can serve as a reservoir for halitosis-causing oral bacteria, halitosis development is a concern for denture wearers. In this study, we surveyed the prevalence of four selected halitosis-related species (Fusobacterium nucleatum, Tannerella forsythia, Veillonella atypica and Klebsiella pneumoniae) in clinical denture plaque samples, and developed denture biofilm models for these species in vitro to facilitate assessment of antimicrobial treatment efficacy. Design : Denture plaque from ten healthy and ten denture stomatitis patients was screened for the presence of aforementioned four species by PCR. Biofilm formation by these halitosis-associated species on the surfaces of denture base resin (DBR) discs was evaluated by crystal violet staining and confocal laser scanning microscopy. The efficacy of denture cleanser treatment on these mono-species biofilms was evaluated by colony counting. Results : 80% of the subjects in the denture stomatitis group and 60% in the healthy group contained at least one of the targeted halitosis-related species in their denture plaque. All halitosis species tested were able to form biofilms on DBR disc surfaces to varying degrees. These in vitro mono-species resin biofilm models were used to evaluate the efficacy of denture cleansers, which exhibited differential efficacies. When forming biofilms on resin surfaces, the halitosis-related species displayed enhanced resistance to denture cleansers compared with their planktonic counterparts. Conclusion : The four selected halitosis-related bacterial species examined in this study are present on the majority of dentures. The mono-species biofilm models established on DBR discs for these species are an efficient screening tool for dental product evaluation.
PMCID: PMC4407000  PMID: 25926895
Antimicrobial treatment; biofilms; denture; halitosis; model
14.  Effects on Hardness and Elastic Modulus for DSS-8 Peptide Treatment on Remineralization of Human Dental Tissues 
Dental remineralization may be achieved by mediating the interactions between tooth surfaces with free ions and biomimetic peptides. We recently developed octuplet repeats of aspartate-serine-serine (DSS-8) peptide, which occurs in high abundance in naturally occurring proteins that are critical for tooth remineralization. In this paper, we evaluated the possible role of DSS-8 in enamel remineralization. Human enamel specimens were demineralized, exposed briefly to DSS-8 solution, and then exposed to concentrated ionic solutions that favor remineralization. Enamel nano-mechanical behaviors, hardness and elastic modulus, at various stages of treatment were determined by nanoindentation. The phase, microstructure and morphology of the resultant surfaces were characterized using the grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXD), variable pressure scanning electron microscopy (VPSEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM), respectively. Nanoindentation results show that the DSS-8 remineralization effectively improves the mechanical and elastic properties for demineralized enamel.
PMCID: PMC4209483  PMID: 25355990
Enamel; Peptide; Nanoindentation; Remineralization
15.  Killing of Escherichia coli by Myxococcus xanthus in Aqueous Environments Requires Exopolysaccharide-dependent Physical Contact 
Microbial ecology  2013;66(3):630-638.
Nutrient or niche-based competition among bacteria is a widespread phenomenon in natural environment. Such inter-species interactions are often mediated by secreted soluble factors and/or direct cell–cell contact. As ubiquitous soil bacteria, Myxococcus species are able to produce a variety of bioactive secondary metabolites to inhibit the growth of other competing bacterial species. Meanwhile, Myxococcus sp. also exhibit sophisticated predatory behavior, an extreme form of competition that is often stimulated by close contact with prey cells and largely depends on the availability of solid surfaces. Myxococcus sp. can also be isolated from aquatic environments. However, studies focusing on the interaction between Myxococcus and other bacteria in such environments are still limited. In this study, using the well-studied M. xanthus DK1622 and E. coli as model interspecies interaction pair, we demonstrated that in a aqueous environment, Myxococcus xanthus was able to kill Escherichia coli in a cell contact-dependent manner, and that the observed contact dependent killing required the formation of co-aggregates between M. xanthus and E. coli cells. Further analysis revealed that exopolysaccharide (EPS), type IV pilus (TFP) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mutants of M. xanthus displayed various degrees of attenuation in E. coli killing, and it correlated well with the mutants' reduction in EPS production. In addition, M. xanthus showed differential binding ability to different bacteria, and bacterial strains unable to co-aggregate with M. xanthus can escape the killing, suggesting the specific nature of co-aggregation and the targeted killing of interacting bacteria. In conclusion, our results demonstrated EPS mediated, contact-dependent killing of E. coli by M. xanthus, a strategy that might facilitate the survival of this ubiquitous bacterium in aquatic environments.
PMCID: PMC3931608  PMID: 23828520
M. xanthus; contact-dependent interaction; co-aggregation; aqueous environment
16.  Oral Microbiota Distinguishes Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Pediatric Hosts from Healthy Populations 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102116.
In leukemia, oral manifestations indicate aberrations in oral microbiota. Microbiota structure is determined by both host and environmental factors. In human hosts, how health status shapes the composition of oral microbiota is largely unknown. Taking advantage of advances in high-throughput sequencing, we compared the composition of supragingival plaque microbiota of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) pediatric patients with healthy controls. The oral microbiota of leukemia patients had lower richness and less diversity compared to healthy controls. Microbial samples clustered into two major groups, one of ALL patients and another of healthy children, with different structure and composition. Abundance changes of certain taxa including the Phylum Firmicutes, the Class Bacilli, the Order Lactobacillales, the Family Aerococcaceae and Carnobacteriaceae, as well as the Genus Abiotrophia and Granulicatella were associated with leukemia status. ALL patients demonstrated a structural imbalance of the oral microbiota, characterized by reduced diversity and abundance alterations, possibly involved in systemic infections, indicating the importance of immune status in shaping the structure of oral microbiota.
PMCID: PMC4099009  PMID: 25025462
17.  Chromosomal DNA deletion confers phage resistance to Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4738.
Bacteria develop a broad range of phage resistance mechanisms, such as prevention of phage adsorption and CRISPR/Cas system, to survive phage predation. In this study, Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA1 strain was infected with lytic phage PaP1, and phage-resistant mutants were selected. A high percentage (~30%) of these mutants displayed red pigmentation phenotype (Red mutant). Through comparative genomic analysis, one Red mutant PA1r was found to have a 219.6 kb genomic fragment deletion, which contains two key genes hmgA and galU related to the observed phenotypes. Deletion of hmgA resulted in the accumulation of a red compound homogentisic acid; while A galU mutant is devoid of O-antigen, which is required for phage adsorption. Intriguingly, while the loss of galU conferred phage resistance, it significantly attenuated PA1r in a mouse infection experiment. Our study revealed a novel phage resistance mechanism via chromosomal DNA deletion in P. aeruginosa.
PMCID: PMC4001099  PMID: 24770387
18.  Development of HuMiChip for Functional Profiling of Human Microbiomes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90546.
Understanding the diversity, composition, structure, function, and dynamics of human microbiomes in individual human hosts is crucial to reveal human-microbial interactions, especially for patients with microbially mediated disorders, but challenging due to the high diversity of the human microbiome. Here we have developed a functional gene-based microarray for profiling human microbiomes (HuMiChip) with 36,802 probes targeting 50,007 protein coding sequences for 139 key functional gene families. Computational evaluation suggested all probes included are highly specific to their target sequences. HuMiChip was used to analyze human oral and gut microbiomes, showing significantly different functional gene profiles between oral and gut microbiome. Obvious shifts of microbial functional structure and composition were observed for both patients with dental caries and periodontitis from moderate to advanced stages, suggesting a progressive change of microbial communities in response to the diseases. Consistent gene family profiles were observed by both HuMiChip and next generation sequencing technologies. Additionally, HuMiChip was able to detect gene families at as low as 0.001% relative abundance. The results indicate that the developed HuMiChip is a useful and effective tool for functional profiling of human microbiomes.
PMCID: PMC3942451  PMID: 24595026
19.  Transcriptional Responses of Treponema denticola to Other Oral Bacterial Species 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88361.
The classic organization by Socransky and coworkers categorized the oral bacteria of the subgingival plaque into different complexes. Treponema denticola, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Tannerella forsythia are grouped into the red complex that is highly correlated with periodontal disease. Socransky's work closely associates red with orange complex species such as Fusobacterium nucleatum and Prevotella intermedia but not with members of the other complexes. While the relationship between species contained by these complexes is in part supported by their ability to physically attach to each other, the physiological consequences of these interactions and associations are less clear. In this study, we employed T. denticola as a model organism to analyze contact-dependent responses to interactions with species belonging to the same complex (P. gingivalis and T. forsythia), the closely associated orange complex (using F. nucleatum and P. intermedia as representatives) and the unconnected yellow complex (using Streptococcus sanguinis and S. gordonii as representatives). RNA was extracted from T. denticola alone as well as after pairwise co-incubation for 5 hrs with representatives of the different complexes, and the respective gene expression profiles were determined using microarrays. Numerous genes related to motility, metabolism, transport, outer membrane and hypothetical proteins were differentially regulated in T. denticola in the presence of the tested partner species. Further analysis revealed a significant overlap in the affected genes and we identified a general response to the presence of other species, those specific to two of the three complexes as well as individual complexes. Most interestingly, many predicted major antigens (e.g. flagella, Msp, CTLP) were suppressed in responses that included red complex species indicating that the presence of the most closely associated species induces immune-evasive strategies. In summary, the data presented here provide an in-depth understanding of the transcriptional responses triggered by contact-dependent interactions between microorganisms inhabiting the periodontal pocket.
PMCID: PMC3914990  PMID: 24505483
20.  Salivary Biomarkers for Caries Risk Assessment 
Saliva contains various microbes and host biological components that could be used for caries risk assessment. This review focuses on the research topics that connect dental caries with saliva, including both the microbial and host components within saliva.
PMCID: PMC3825179  PMID: 23505756
21.  Phenotypic characterization of the foldase homologue PrsA in Streptococcus mutans 
Molecular oral microbiology  2012;28(2):10.1111/omi.12014.
Streptococcus mutans is generally considered to be the principal etiological agent for dental caries. Many of the proteins necessary for its colonization of the oral cavity and pathogenesis are exported to the cell surface or the extracellular matrix, a process that requires the assistance of the export machineries. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that the S. mutans genome contains a prsA gene, whose counterparts in other gram positive bacteria, including Bacillus and Lactococcus encode functions involved in protein post-export. In this study, we constructed a PrsA-deficient derivative of S. mutans and demonstrated that the prsA mutant displayed an altered cell wall/ membrane protein profile as well as cell surface related phenotypes, including auto-aggregation, increased surface hydrophobicity, and abnormal biofilm formation. Further analysis revealed that the disruption of the prsA gene resulted in reduced insoluble glucan production by cell surface localized glucosyltransferases, and mutacin as well as cell surface-display of a heterologous expressed GFP fusion to the cell surface protein SpaP. Our study suggested that PrsA in S. mutans encodes functions similar to the ones identified in Bacillus, and thus is likely involved in protein post-export.
PMCID: PMC3819222  PMID: 23241367
foldase protein PrsA; protein secretion; Streptococcus mutans
22.  Effects of Exopolysaccharide Production on Liquid Vegetative Growth, Stress Survival and Stationary Phase Recovery in Myxococcus xanthus 
Journal of microbiology (Seoul, Korea)  2012;50(2):10.1007/s12275-012-1349-5.
Exopolysaccharide (EPS) of Myxococcus xanthus is a well-regulated cell surface component. In addition to its known functions for social motility and fruiting body formation on solid surfaces, EPS has also been proposed to play a role in multi-cellular clumping in liquid medium, though this phenomenon has not been well studied. In this report, we confirmed that M. xanthus clumps formed in liquid were correlated with EPS levels and demonstrated that the EPS encased cell clumps exhibited biofilm-like structures. The clumps protected the cells at physiologically relevant EPS concentrations, while cells lacking EPS exhibited significant reduction in long-term viability and resistance to stressful conditions. However, excess EPS production was counterproductive to vegetative growth and viable cell recovery declined in extended late stationary phase as cells became trapped in the matrix of clumps. Therefore, optimal EPS production by M. xanthus is important for normal physiological functions in liquid.
PMCID: PMC3819231  PMID: 22538652
Myxococcus xanthus; exopolysaccharide; vegetative growth; stress survival; stationary phase recovery
23.  An in vitro biofilm model system maintaining a highly reproducible species and metabolic diversity approaching that of the human oral microbiome 
Microbiome  2013;1:25.
Our knowledge of microbial diversity in the human oral cavity has vastly expanded during the last two decades of research. However, much of what is known about the behavior of oral species to date derives from pure culture approaches and the studies combining several cultivated species, which likely does not fully reflect their function in complex microbial communities. It has been shown in studies with a limited number of cultivated species that early oral biofilm development occurs in a successional manner and that continuous low pH can lead to an enrichment of aciduric species. Observations that in vitro grown plaque biofilm microcosms can maintain similar pH profiles in response to carbohydrate addition as plaque in vivo suggests a complex microbial community can be established in the laboratory. In light of this, our primary goal was to develop a robust in vitro biofilm-model system from a pooled saliva inoculum in order to study the stability, reproducibility, and development of the oral microbiome, and its dynamic response to environmental changes from the community to the molecular level.
Comparative metagenomic analyses confirmed a high similarity of metabolic potential in biofilms to recently available oral metagenomes from healthy subjects as part of the Human Microbiome Project. A time-series metagenomic analysis of the taxonomic community composition in biofilms revealed that the proportions of major species at 3 hours of growth are maintained during 48 hours of biofilm development. By employing deep pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to investigate this biofilm model with regards to bacterial taxonomic diversity, we show a high reproducibility of the taxonomic carriage and proportions between: 1) individual biofilm samples; 2) biofilm batches grown at different dates; 3) DNA extraction techniques and 4) research laboratories.
Our study demonstrates that we now have the capability to grow stable oral microbial in vitro biofilms containing more than one hundred operational taxonomic units (OTU) which represent 60-80% of the original inoculum OTU richness. Previously uncultivated Human Oral Taxa (HOT) were identified in the biofilms and contributed to approximately one-third of the totally captured 16S rRNA gene diversity. To our knowledge, this represents the highest oral bacterial diversity reported for an in vitro model system so far. This robust model will help investigate currently uncultivated species and the known virulence properties for many oral pathogens not solely restricted to pure culture systems, but within multi-species biofilms.
PMCID: PMC3971625  PMID: 24451062
In vitro model; Biofilm; Oral microbiome; Saliva; Streptococcus; Lactobacillus; Uncultivated bacteria
24.  The clpB gene is involved in the stress response of Myxococcus xanthus during vegetative growth and development 
Microbiology  2012;158(Pt 9):2336-2343.
The Clp/HSP100 family of molecular chaperones is ubiquitous in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. These proteins play important roles in refolding, disaggregating and degrading proteins damaged by stress. As a subclass of the Clp/HSP100 family, ClpB has been shown to be involved in various stress responses as well as other functions in bacteria. In the present study, we investigated the role of a predicted ClpB-encoding gene, MXAN5092, in the stress response during vegetative growth and development of Myxococcus xanthus. Transcriptional analysis confirmed induction of this clpB homologue under different stress conditions, and further phenotypic analysis revealed that an in-frame deletion mutant of MXAN5092 was more sensitive to various stress treatments than the wild-type strain during vegetative growth. Moreover, the absence of the MXAN5092 gene resulted in decreased heat tolerance of myxospores, indicating the involvement of this clpB homologue in the stress response during the development of myxospores. The M. xanthus recombinant ClpB (MXAN5092) protein also showed a general chaperone activity in vitro. Overall, our genetic and phenotypic analysis of the predicted ATP-dependent chaperone protein ClpB (MXAN5092) demonstrated that it functions as a chaperone protein and plays an important role in cellular stress tolerance during both vegetative growth and development of M. xanthus.
PMCID: PMC3542817  PMID: 22790397
25.  Mapping the Tail Fiber as the Receptor Binding Protein Responsible for Differential Host Specificity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Bacteriophages PaP1 and JG004 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68562.
The first step in bacteriophage infection is recognition and binding to the host receptor, which is mediated by the phage receptor binding protein (RBP). Different RBPs can lead to differential host specificity. In many bacteriophages, such as Escherichia coli and Lactococcal phages, RBPs have been identified as the tail fiber or protruding baseplate proteins. However, the tail fiber-dependent host specificity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa phages has not been well studied. This study aimed to identify and investigate the binding specificity of the RBP of P. aeruginosa phages PaP1 and JG004. These two phages share high DNA sequence homology but exhibit different host specificities. A spontaneous mutant phage was isolated and exhibited broader host range compared with the parental phage JG004. Sequencing of its putative tail fiber and baseplate region indicated a single point mutation in ORF84 (a putative tail fiber gene), which resulted in the replacement of a positively charged lysine (K) by an uncharged asparagine (N). We further demonstrated that the replacement of the tail fiber gene (ORF69) of PaP1 with the corresponding gene from phage JG004 resulted in a recombinant phage that displayed altered host specificity. Our study revealed the tail fiber-dependent host specificity in P. aeruginosa phages and provided an effective tool for its alteration. These contributions may have potential value in phage therapy.
PMCID: PMC3706319  PMID: 23874674

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