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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)
Quorum sensing is a bacterial mechanism for regulating gene expression in response to changes in population density. Many bacteria are capable of acyl-homoserine lactone-based or peptide-based intraspecies quorum sensing and luxS-dependent interspecies quorum sensing. While there is good evidence about the involvement of intraspecies quorum sensing in(More)
Integration host factor (IHF) is required in lambda site-specific recombination to deform the DNA substrates into conformations active for recombination. HU, a homolog of IHF, can also deform DNA but binds without any apparent sequence specificity. We demonstrate that HU can replace IHF by cooperating with the recombinase protein, integrase, to generate a(More)
In Streptococcus pneumoniae, competence and bacteriocin genes are controlled by two two-component systems, ComED and BlpRH, respectively. In Streptococcus mutans, both functions are controlled by the ComED system. Recent studies in S. mutans revealed a potential ComE binding site characterized by two 11 bp direct repeats shared by each of the bacteriocin(More)
Streptococcus mutans is considered one of the main causative agents of human dental caries. Cell-cell communication through two-component signal transduction systems (TCSTS) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of S. mutans. One of the S. mutans TCSTS, ComDE, controls both competence development and biofilm formation. In this study, we showed that(More)
Streptococcus mutans, a major acidogenic component of the dental plaque biofilm, has a key role in caries etiology. Previously, we demonstrated that the VicRK two-component signal transduction system modulates biofilm formation, oxidative stress and acid tolerance responses in S. mutans. Using in vitro phosphorylation assays, here we demonstrate for the(More)
Two-component systems (TCSs) are important for the adaptation and survival of bacteria and fungi under stress conditions. A TCS is often composed of a membrane-bound sensor histidine kinase (SK) and a response regulator (RR), which are relayed through sequential phosphorylation steps. However, the mechanism for how an SK is switched on in response to(More)
Bacteria that cause chronic and/or recurrent diseases often rely on a biofilm lifestyle. The foundation of the biofilm structure is the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) that acts as a barrier to both effectors of the immune system and antimicrobial agents. Recent work has highlighted extracellular DNA (eDNA) as a key component common to many(More)
Mutans streptococci glucosyltransferases catalyze glucosyl transfer from sucrose to a glucan chain. We previously identified an aspartyl residue that participates in stabilizing the glucosyl transition state. The sequence surrounding the aspartate was found to have substantial sequence similarity with members of alpha-amylase family. Because little is known(More)
Glutamate contributes to the acid tolerance response (ATR) of many Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, but its role in the ATR of the oral bacterium Streptococcus mutans is unknown. This study describes the discovery and characterization of a glutamate transporter operon designated glnQHMP (Smu.1519 to Smu.1522) and investigates its potential role in(More)