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Pleiotropic regulation of virulence genes in Streptococcus mutans by the conserved small protein SprV
, M.S. Hossain, I. Biswas
Published in American Society for Microbiology
PMID: 28167518
Volume: 199
Issue: 8
Streptococcus mutans, an oral pathogen associated with dental caries, colonizes tooth surfaces as polymicrobial biofilms known as dental plaque. S. mutans expresses several virulence factors that allow the organism to tolerate environmental fluctuations and compete with other microorganisms. We recently identified a small hypothetical protein (90 amino acids) essential for the normal growth of the bacterium. Inactivation of the gene, SMU.2137, encoding this protein caused a significant growth defect and loss of various virulence-associated functions. An S. mutans strain lacking this gene was more sensitive to acid, temperature, osmotic, oxidative, and DNA damage-inducing stresses. In addition, we observed an altered protein profile and defects in biofilm formation, bacteriocin production, and natural competence development, possibly due to the fitness defect associated with SMU.2137 deletion. Transcriptome sequencing revealed that nearly 20% of the S. mutans genes were differentially expressed upon SMU.2137 deletion, thereby suggesting a pleiotropic effect. Therefore, we have renamed this hitherto uncharacterized gene as sprV (streptococcal pleiotropic regulator of virulence). The transcript levels of several relevant genes in the sprV mutant corroborated the phenotypes observed upon sprV deletion. Owing to its highly conserved nature, inactivation of the sprV ortholog in Streptococcus gordonii also resulted in poor growth and defective UV tolerance and competence development as in the case of S. mutans. Our experiments suggest that SprV is functionally distinct from its homologs identified by structure and sequence homology. Nonetheless, our current work is aimed at understanding the importance of SprV in the S. mutans biology. © 2017 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
About the journal
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology