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Mol Oral Microbiol. 2013 Apr;28(2):154-65. doi: 10.1111/omi.12014. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Phenotypic characterization of the foldase homologue PrsA in Streptococcus mutans.

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School of Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Streptococcus mutans is generally considered to be the principal etiological agent for dental caries. Many of the proteins necessary for its colonization of the oral cavity and pathogenesis are exported to the cell surface or the extracellular matrix, a process that requires the assistance of the export machineries. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that the S. mutans genome contains a prsA gene, whose counterparts in other gram-positive bacteria, including Bacillus and Lactococcus, encode functions involved in protein post-export. In this study, we constructed a PrsA-deficient derivative of S. mutans and demonstrated that the prsA mutant displayed an altered cell wall/membrane protein profile as well as cell-surface-related phenotypes, including auto-aggregation, increased surface hydrophobicity and abnormal biofilm formation. Further analysis revealed that the disruption of the prsA gene resulted in reduced insoluble glucan production by cell surface localized glucosyltransferases, and mutacin as well as cell surface-display of a heterologous expressed GFP fusion to the cell surface protein SpaP. Our study suggested that PrsA in S. mutans encodes functions similar to those identified in Bacillus, and so is likely to be involved in protein post-export.

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