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Microb Pathog. 1996 Apr;20(4):225-33.

Deletion and reintroduction of glucosyltransferase genes of Streptococcus mutans and role of their gene products in sucrose dependent cellular adherence.

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Department of Oral Microbiology, Osaka University Faculty of Dentistry, Japan.


Streptococcus mutans has three kinds of glucosyltransferases (GTases), i.e. GTase-I, GTase-SI and GTase-S. These enzymes co-operatively synthesize adhesive glucan from sucrose, which contributes to firm adherence of growing organisms to solid surfaces. In this study, the genes encoding GTase-I (gtfB) and GTase-SI (gtfC) of S. mutans MT8148 (serotype c) were inactivated by the insertion mutagenesis by allelic exchange. Three types of isogenic mutants lacking either GTase-I, GTase-SI or both, respectively were isolated. Sucrose dependent cellular adherence of these mutants were significantly lower than that of the parent. Adherence of GTase-SI deficient mutant was lower than that of GTase-I deficient mutant. We then generated Escherichia coli-Streptococcus shuttle vectors carrying the gtfB and gtfC gene. The shuttle vector containing the gtfB gene was transformed into the GTase-I deficient mutant. Western blot analysis of the transformant revealed that GTase-I protein was fully expressed. Sucrose dependent adherence of the transformant increased but did not reach that of the parent. Similarly, the shuttle vector containing the gtfC gene was transformed into the GTase-SI deficient mutant. The expression of GTase-SI and sucrose dependent adherence of the transformant was revealed to be at a level similar to those by the parent. These results indicated that GTase-SI does play an essential role in the production of adhesive glucan that can lead to firm cellular adherence to solid surfaces.

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