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Eur J Oral Sci. 2004 Oct;112(5):433-8.

Deletion of gtfC of Streptococcus mutans has no influence on the composition of a mixed-species in vitro biofilm model of supragingival plaque.

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Institute for Oral Biology, Section for Oral Microbiology and General Immunology, Center for Dental and Oral Medicine and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.


Glucosyltransferases from Streptococcus mutans are thought to play an important role in bacterial adherence to the tooth surface. The goal of the present study was to determine the effect of the deletion of the gtfC gene, which encodes a glucosyltransferase that catalyses primarily the formation of insoluble glucan (mutan), on colonization of S. mutans in a mixed-species biofilm model of supragingival plaque. A gtfC deletion mutant of S. mutans UA159 grew poorly in biofilms on a polystyrene surface in Todd-Hewitt medium containing sucrose, but biofilm formation in the semi-defined fluid universal medium (FUM) was not affected. The S. mutans gtfC mutant colonized with the same efficiency as the wild-type strain when grown together with five other species in a mixed-species biofilm on hydroxyapatite in a mixture of FUM and saliva with pulses of sucrose and showed the same ability to demineralize enamel in vitro. Colonization of mutant and wild-type strains was also equal in an association experiment in specific-pathogen-free rats. However, the gtfC mutant gave rise to more dentinal fissure lesions and smooth surface caries than the wild-type strain; this could be caused by a change in diffusion properties as a result of to the lack of mutan.

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