Distinct Agents Induce Streptococcus mutans Cells with Altered Biofilm Formation Capacity

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Dental caries is a multifactorial biofilm- and sugar-dependent disease. This study investigated the influence of different agents on the induction of surviving Streptococcus mutans cells after successive treatment cycles and characterized the biofilms formed by these cells recovered posttreatment. The agents (with their main targets listed in parentheses) were compound 1771 (lipoteichoic acids), 4' hydroxychalcone (exopolysaccharides), myricetin (exopolysaccharides), tt-farnesol (cytoplasmatic membrane), sodium fluoride (enolase-glycolysis), chlorhexidine (antimicrobial), and vehicle. Recovered cells from biofilms were generated from exposure to each agent during 10 cycles of consecutive treatments (modeled on a polystyrene plate bottom). The recovered cell counting was different for each agent. The recovered cells from each group were grown as biofilms on saliva-coated hydroxyapatite discs (culture medium with sucrose/starch). In S. mutans biofilms formed by cells recovered from biofilms previously exposed to compound 1771, 4' hydroxychalcone, or myricetin, cells presented higher expression of the 16S rRNA, gyrA (DNA replication and transcription), gtfB (insoluble exopolysaccharides), and eno (enolase-glycolysis) genes and lower quantities of insoluble dry weight and insoluble exopolysaccharides than those derived from other agents. These findings were confirmed by the smaller biovolume of bacteria and/or exopolysaccharides and the biofilm distribution (coverage area). Moreover, preexposure to chlorhexidine increased exopolysaccharide production. Therefore, agents with different targets induce cells with distinct biofilm formation capacities, which is critical for developing formulations for biofilm control. IMPORTANCE This article addresses the effect of distinct agents with distinct targets in the bacterial cell (cytoplasmatic membrane and glycolysis), the cell's extracellular synthesis of exopolysaccharides that are important for cariogenic extracellular matrix construction and biofilm buildup in the generation of cells that persisted after treatment, and how these cells form biofilms in vitro. For example, if preexposure to an agent augments the production of virulence determinants, such as exopolysaccharides, its clinical value may be inadequate. Modification of biofilm formation capacity after exposure to agents is critical for the development of formulations for biofilm control to prevent caries, a ubiquitous disease associated with biofilm and diet.




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Microbiology spectrum, v. 10, n. 4, p. e0065022-, 2022.

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