Microbial Community Interactions of the Cariogenic Organism Streptococcus mutans
Saswat Sourav Mohapatra and Indranil Biswas
from: Oral Microbial Ecology: Current Research and New Perspectives (Edited by: Nicholas S. Jakubovics and Robert J. Palmer Jr.). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2013)
The human oral cavity is estimated to host more than 700 bacterial species formed into distinct biofilm communities, of which more than 50% are yet to be cultured in the laboratory. Though oral streptococci constitute two thirds of the total commensals, only a fraction known as mutans streptococci are involved in producing dental caries. The oral streptococci are the primary colonizers of the tooth and other mucosal surfaces in the oral cavity and initiate plaque biofilm formation. Mutual interaction in the form of cooperation and competition shapes the constitution of the oral microflora. Colonization by Streptococcus mutans, having significant acidogenicity and aciduricity properties, is primarily responsible for dental caries formation. Recent advances in nucleotide sequencing and other high throughput methods have provided significant clues to the biology and gene regulation of S. mutans in a community structure. Many therapeutic methods are being devised to specifically target the S. mutans in the biofilm, without disturbing other bacterial species. Significant among them are targeting the interbacterial signaling, replacing cariogenic flora with non-cariogenic flora, and specifically targeted antimicrobial peptides (STAMPs). As the research progresses in this field, better therapeutic methods are on the horizon read more ...