Expression of biofilm-associated genes of Streptococcus mutans in response to glucose and sucrose

Moshe Shemesh, Avshalom Tam, Doron Steinberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Streptococcus mutans is known as a primary pathogen of dental caries, one of the most common human infectious diseases. Exopolysaccharide synthesis, adherence to tooth surface and biofilm formation are important physiological and virulence factors of S. mutans. In vitro comparative gene expression analysis was carried out to differentiate 10 selected genes known to be mostly involved in S. mutans biofilm formation by comparing the expression under biofilm and planktonic environments. Real-time RT-PCR analyses indicated that all of the genes tested were upregulated in the biofilm compared to cells grown in planktonic conditions. The influence of simple dietary carbohydrates on gene expression in S. mutans biofilm was tested also. Among the tested genes, in the biofilm phase, the greatest induction was observed for gtf and ftf, which are genes encoding the extracellular polysaccharide-producing enzymes. Biofilm formation was accompanied by a 22-fold induction in the abundance of mRNA encoding glucosyltransferase B (GTFB) and a 14.8-fold increase in mRNA encoding GTFC. Levels of mRNA encoding fructosyltransferase were induced approximately 11.8-fold in biofilm-derived cells. Another notable finding of this study suggests that glucose affects the expression of S. mutans GS5 biofilm genes. In spite of a significant upregulation in biofilm-associated gene expression in the presence of sucrose, the presence of glucose with sucrose reduced expression of most tested genes. Differential analysis of the transcripts from S. mutans, grown in media with various nutrient contents, revealed significant shifts in the expression of the genes involved in biofilm formation. The results presented here provide new insights at the molecular level regarding gene expression in this bacterium when grown under biofilm conditions, allowing a better understanding of the mechanism of biofilm formation by S. mutans.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1528-1535
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of biofilm-associated genes of Streptococcus mutans in response to glucose and sucrose'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this