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Article

Genetic Mutations That Confer Fluoride Resistance Modify Gene Expression and Virulence Traits of Streptococcus mutans

1
Department of Integrated Biological Science, College of Natural Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Korea
2
Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
3
Department of Microbiology, College of Natural Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sangryeol Ryu
Microorganisms 2021, 9(4), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040849
Received: 12 March 2021 / Revised: 8 April 2021 / Accepted: 13 April 2021 / Published: 15 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Antimicrobial Agents and Resistance)
Fluoride is an inorganic monatomic anion that is widely used as an anti-cariogenic agent for the control of caries development. The aims of this study were to identify the mutated genes that give rise to fluoride-resistant (FR) strains of the cariogenic pathogen Streptococcus mutans and explore how genetic alterations in the genome of an S. mutans FR strain optimize the metabolism(s) implicated in the expression of virulence-associated traits. Here, we derived an S. mutans FR strain from a wild-type UA159 strain by continuous shifts to a medium supplemented with increasing concentrations of fluoride. The FR strain exhibited a slow growth rate and low yield under aerobic and oxidative stress conditions and was highly sensitive to acid stress. Notably, microscopy observation displayed morphological changes in which the FR strain had a slightly shorter cell length. Next, using the sequencing analyses, we found six mutations in the FR genome, which decreased the gene expression of the phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system (PTS). Indeed, the ability to intake carbohydrates was relatively reduced in the FR strain. Collectively, our results provide evidence that the genetic mutations in the genome of the FR strain modulate the expression of gene(s) for carbon metabolism(s) and cellular processes, leading to diminished fitness with respect to virulence and persistence. View Full-Text
Keywords: Streptococcus mutans; fluoride resistance; phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system (PTS); diminished fitness Streptococcus mutans; fluoride resistance; phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system (PTS); diminished fitness
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lee, H.-J.; Song, J.; Kim, J.N. Genetic Mutations That Confer Fluoride Resistance Modify Gene Expression and Virulence Traits of Streptococcus mutans. Microorganisms 2021, 9, 849. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040849

AMA Style

Lee H-J, Song J, Kim JN. Genetic Mutations That Confer Fluoride Resistance Modify Gene Expression and Virulence Traits of Streptococcus mutans. Microorganisms. 2021; 9(4):849. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040849

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lee, Hyeon-Jeong, Jihee Song, and Jeong N. Kim 2021. "Genetic Mutations That Confer Fluoride Resistance Modify Gene Expression and Virulence Traits of Streptococcus mutans" Microorganisms 9, no. 4: 849. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040849

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