Identification and Analysis of a Collagenolytic Activity in Streptococcus mutans
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Streptococcus mutans is an important pathogen in coronal caries and is implicated in dental root decay by its ability to bind collagen from various sources. In the present study, electron microscopic analysis demonstrated the ability of S. mutans to bind and to disrupt collagen fibrils of the amniotic membrane. The synthetic peptide FALGPA, which is similar in structure to collagen, was degraded by S. mutans, with a lower level of FALGPA hydrolytic activity observed in sucrose-grown cells compared with cells grown in the absence of sucrose. Inhibition studies of FALGPA hydrolytic activity showed a pattern characteristic of collagenase activity, with inhibition by 1,10-phenanthroline and EDTA, but not by phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF). Additionally, immunological cross-reactivity was observed between proteins from disrupted cells of S. mutans and antiserum to collagenase from Clostridium histolyticum. Gelatinolytic activity was demonstrated by gelatin zymogram analysis. These findings suggest that collagenolytic activity by S. mutans may be an important virulence factor in dental root decay.
KeywordsFibril Gelatin Collagenase Clostridium Collagen Fibril
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