Genetic Analysis of Streptococcus mutans Virulence

  • R. CurtissIII
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 118)


CLARKE (1924) first isolated and described a streptococcus from a human carious lesion and inferred that it was a potential causative agent of dental caries. He named the organism Streptococcus mutans. This observation went unnoticed for some 35 years until ORLAND (1959) demonstrated that enterococci could cause dental caries in germ-free rats and FITZGERALD and colleagues (FITZGERALD and KEYES 1960; FITZGERALD et al. 1960) found that maximum cariogenicity in germ-free animals was observed following infection with streptococci of the type originally described by CLARKE. It was subsequently demonstrated that S. mutans is the principal etiological agent of dental caries in humans (see NEWBRUN 1978). S. mutans only colonizes humans following tooth eruption during the 1st year of life, with most humans being colonized during early childhood (STILES et al. 1976).


Dental Caries Dental Plaque Streptococcus Mutans Cryptic Plasmid Oral Streptococcus 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. CurtissIII
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical MicrobiologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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