Dennis Gerard Cvitkovitch

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Streptococcus mutans is a bacterium that has evolved to be dependent upon a biofilm "lifestyle" for survival and persistence in its natural ecosystem, dental plaque. We initiated this study to identify the genes involved in the development of genetic competence in S. mutans and to assay the natural genetic transformability of biofilm-grown cells. Using(More)
In a previous study, a quorum-sensing signaling system essential for genetic competence in Streptococcus mutans was identified, characterized, and found to function optimally in biofilms (Li et al., J. Bacteriol. 183:897-908, 2001). Here, we demonstrate that this system also plays a role in the ability of S. mutans to initiate biofilm formation. To test(More)
Bacteria exposed to transient host environments can elicit adaptive responses by triggering the differential expression of genes via two-component signal transduction systems. This study describes the vicRK signal transduction system in Streptococcus mutans. A vicK (putative histidine kinase) deletion mutant (SmuvicK) was isolated. However, a vicR (putative(More)
Since its discovery in 1924 by J Clarke, Streptococcus mutans has been the focus of rigorous research efforts due to its involvement in caries initiation and progression. Its ability to ferment a range of dietary carbohydrates can rapidly drop the external environmental pH, thereby making dental plaque inhabitable to many competing species and can(More)
Type IV pili (TFP) are important colonization factors of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, involved in biofilm formation and attachment to host cells. This study undertook a comprehensive analysis of TFP alleles in more than 290 environmental, clinical, rectal and cystic fibrosis (CF) isolates of P. aeruginosa. Based on the results, a new(More)
The induction of genetic competence is a strategy used by bacteria to increase their genetic repertoire under stressful environmental conditions. Recently, Streptococcus pneumoniae has been shown to co-ordinate the uptake of transforming DNA with fratricide via increased expression of the peptide pheromone responsible for competence induction. Here, we(More)
Streptococcus mutans normally colonizes dental biofilms and is regularly exposed to continual cycles of acidic pH during ingestion of fermentable dietary carbohydrates. The ability of S. mutans to survive at low pH is an important virulence factor in the pathogenesis of dental caries. Despite a few studies of the acid adaptation mechanism of this organism,(More)
AIM To assess potential function of each two-component signal transduction system in the expression of Streptococcus mutans virulence properties. METHODS AND RESULTS For each two-component system (TCS), the histidine kinase-encoding gene was inactivated by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based deletion strategy and the effects of gene disruption on the(More)
The abilities of Streptococcus mutans to form biofilms and to survive acidic pH are regarded as two important virulence determinants in the pathogenesis of dental caries. Environmental stimuli are thought to regulate the expression of several genes associated with virulence factors through the activity of two-component signal transduction systems. Yet,(More)
Members of the bacterial genus Streptococcus are responsible for causing a wide variety of infections in humans. Many Streptococci use quorum-sensing systems to regulate several physiological properties, including the ability to incorporate foreign DNA, tolerate acid, form biofilms, and become virulent. These quorum-sensing systems are primarily made of(More)