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author:("Wen, zhang T.")
1.  Streptococcus mutans Extracellular DNA Is Upregulated during Growth in Biofilms, Actively Released via Membrane Vesicles, and Influenced by Components of the Protein Secretion Machinery 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(13):2355-2366.
Streptococcus mutans, a major etiological agent of human dental caries, lives primarily on the tooth surface in biofilms. Limited information is available concerning the extracellular DNA (eDNA) as a scaffolding matrix in S. mutans biofilms. This study demonstrates that S. mutans produces eDNA by multiple avenues, including lysis-independent membrane vesicles. Unlike eDNAs from cell lysis that were abundant and mainly concentrated around broken cells or cell debris with floating open ends, eDNAs produced via the lysis-independent pathway appeared scattered but in a structured network under scanning electron microscopy. Compared to eDNA production of planktonic cultures, eDNA production in 5- and 24-h biofilms was increased by >3- and >1.6-fold, respectively. The addition of DNase I to growth medium significantly reduced biofilm formation. In an in vitro adherence assay, added chromosomal DNA alone had a limited effect on S. mutans adherence to saliva-coated hydroxylapatite beads, but in conjunction with glucans synthesized using purified glucosyltransferase B, the adherence was significantly enhanced. Deletion of sortase A, the transpeptidase that covalently couples multiple surface-associated proteins to the cell wall peptidoglycan, significantly reduced eDNA in both planktonic and biofilm cultures. Sortase A deficiency did not have a significant effect on membrane vesicle production; however, the protein profile of the mutant membrane vesicles was significantly altered, including reduction of adhesin P1 and glucan-binding proteins B and C. Relative to the wild type, deficiency of protein secretion and membrane protein insertion machinery components, including Ffh, YidC1, and YidC2, also caused significant reductions in eDNA.
PMCID: PMC4054167  PMID: 24748612
2.  Psr is involved in regulation of glucan production, and double deficiency of BrpA and Psr is lethal in Streptococcus mutans 
Microbiology  2013;159(Pt 3):493-506.
Streptococcus mutans, the primary causative agent of dental caries, contains two paralogues of the LytR-CpsA-Psr family proteins encoded by brpA and psr, respectively. Previous studies have shown that BrpA plays an important role in cell envelope biogenesis/homeostasis and affects stress responses and biofilm formation by Strep. mutans, traits critical to cariogenicity of this bacterium. In this study, a Psr-deficient mutant, TW251, was constructed. Characterization of TW251 showed that deficiency of Psr did not have any major impact on growth rate. However, when subjected to acid killing at pH 2.8, the survival rate of TW251 was decreased dramatically compared with the parent strain UA159. In addition, TW251 also displayed major defects in biofilm formation, especially during growth with sucrose. When compared to UA159, the biofilms of TW251 were mainly planar and devoid of extracellular glucans. Real-time-PCR and Western blot analyses revealed that deficiency of Psr significantly decreased the expression of glucosyltransferase C, a protein known to play a major role in biofilm formation by Strep. mutans. Transmission electron microscopy analysis showed that deficiency of BrpA caused alterations in cell envelope and cell division, and the most significant defects were observed in TW314, a Psr-deficient and BrpA-down mutant. No such effects were observed with Psr mutant TW251 under similar conditions. These results suggest that while there are similarities in functions between BrpA and Psr, distinctive differences also exist between these two paralogues. Like Bacillus subtilis but different from Staphylococcus aureus, a functional BrpA or Psr is required for viability in Strep. mutans.
PMCID: PMC3709821  PMID: 23288544
3.  Novel amelogenin-releasing hydrogel for remineralization of enamel artificial caries 
Recently, the use of recombinant full-length amelogenin protein in combination with fluoride has shown promising results in the formation of densely packed enamel-like structures. In this study, amelogenin (rP172)-releasing hydrogels containing calcium, phosphate, and fluoride were investigated for remineralization efficacy using in vitro early enamel caries models. The hydrogels were applied to artificial caries lesions on extracted human third molars, and the remineralization efficacy was tested in different models: static gel remineralization in the presence of artificial saliva, pH cyclic treatment at pH 5.4 acetic buffer and pH 7.3 gel remineralization, and treatment with multispecies oral biofilms grown in a continuous flowing constant-depth film fermenter. The surface microhardness of remineralized enamel increased significantly when amelogenin was released from hydrogel. No cytotoxicity was observed when periodontal ligament cells were cultured with the mineralized hydrogels.
PMCID: PMC3548329  PMID: 23338820
Remineralization; biocompatibility; enamel-like crystals; amelogenin; oral bacterial biofilm
4.  Synthesis and characterization of antibacterial dental monomers and composites 
The objective of this study is to synthesize antibacterial methacrylate and methacrylamide monomers and formulate antibacterial fluoride-releasing dental composites. Three antibacterial methacrylate or methacrylamide monomers containing long-chain quaternary ammonium fluoride, 1,2-methacrylamido-N,N,N-trimethyldodecan-1-aminium fluoride (monomer I), N-benzyl-11-(methacryloyloxy)-N,N-dimethylundecan-1-aminium fluoride (monomer II), and methacryloxyldecylpyridinium fluoride (monomer III) have been synthesized and analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS). The cytotoxicity test and bactericidal test against Streptococcus mutans indicate that antibacterial monomer II is superior to monomers I and III. A series of dental composites containing 0–6% of antibacterial monomer II have been formulated and tested for degree of conversion (DC), flexure strength, water sorption, solubility, and inhibition of S. mutans biofilms. An antibacterial fluoride-releasing dental composite has also been formulated and tested for flexure strength and fluoride release. The dental composite containing 3% of monomer II has a significant effect against S. mutans biofilm formation without major adverse effects on its physical and mechanical properties. The new antibacterial monomers can be used together with the fluoride-releasing monomers containing a ternary zirconiun- fluoride chelate to formulate a new antibacterial fluoride- releasing dental composite. Such a new dental composite is expected to have higher anticaries efficacy and longer service life.
PMCID: PMC3407682  PMID: 22447582
synthesis; antibacterial monomers; dental composites; biofilm; mechanical properties
5.  Transcriptional Repressor Rex Is Involved in Regulation of Oxidative Stress Response and Biofilm Formation by Streptococcus mutans 
FEMS microbiology letters  2011;320(2):110-117.
The transcriptional repressor Rex has been implicated in regulation of energy metabolism and fermentative growth in response to redox potential. Streptococcus mutans, the primary causative agent of human dental caries, possesses a gene that encodes a protein with high similarity to members of the Rex family of proteins. In this study, we showed that Rex-deficiency compromised the ability of S. mutans to cope with oxidative stress and to form biofilms. The Rex-deficient mutant also accumulated less biofilm after 3-days than the wild-type strain, especially when grown in sucrose-containing medium, but produced more extracellular glucans than the parental strain. Rex-deficiency caused substantial alterations in gene transcription, including those involved in heterofermentative metabolism, NAD+ regeneration and oxidative stress. Among the up-regulated genes was gtfC, which encodes glucosyltransferase C, an enzyme primarily responsible for synthesis of water-insoluble glucans. These results reveal that Rex plays an important role in oxidative stress responses and biofilm formation by S. mutans.
PMCID: PMC3115380  PMID: 21521360
Redox sensing; oxidative stress; biofilm formation; Streptococcus mutans

Results 1-5 (5)