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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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
The ability of Streptococcus mutans, a bacterial pathogen associated with dental caries, to tolerate rapid drops in plaque pH (acidurance), is considered an important virulence factor. To study this trait, Tn917 mutants of S. mutans strain JH1005 which display acid sensitivity have been isolated and partially characterized. In this paper, the(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)
Using 21 species of oral bacteria, representing six acidogenic genera, we undertook to determine whether the pH-limiting exponential growth is related to the ability of the organisms to generate an acid-tolerance response that results in enhanced survival at low pH. The lower pH limit of exponential growth varied by more than two units with that of(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)
Streptococcus mutans is the primary causative agent involved in dental caries in humans. Among important virulence factors of this pathogen, its ability to form and sustain a polysaccharide-encased biofilm (commonly called dental plaque) is vital not only to its survival and persistence in the oral cavity, but also for its pathogenicity as well. This(More)