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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2002 Nov 19;217(1):23-30.

Real-time PCR for quantification of Streptococcus mutans.

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Department of Oral Health, National Institute of Public Health, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, 162-8640, Tokyo, Japan.


A real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was developed for the quantification of Streptococcus mutans. Primers targeting gtf genes of S. mutans were designed and tested for their specificity using 28 oral streptococcal strains, three other bacterial strains, and human DNA. The primers could amplify specifically the target DNA fragment from a mixture of oral streptococcus genomic DNA containing about 10 fg to 10 ng of S. mutans genome DNA. The real-time PCR produced a linear quantitative detection range over concentrations spanning seven exponential values, with a detection limit of a few copies of S. mutans' genomic DNA per reaction tube. The results of the real-time PCR assay corresponded well to those of conventional culture assays for S. mutans in saliva samples. A real-time PCR assay for Streptococcus sobrinus and Streptococcus downei was also established and produced results that corresponded well to those from conventional culture assays for S. sobrinus in saliva samples. These assays will be useful as a new means to assess one of the important risk factors for caries.

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