Journal of dental research

Binding Force Dynamics of Streptococcus mutans-glucosyltransferase B to Candida albicans.

PMID 26138722


Candida albicans cells are often detected with Streptococcus mutans in plaque biofilms from children affected with early childhood caries. The coadhesion between these 2 organisms appears to be largely mediated by the S. mutans-derived exoenzyme glucosyltransferase B (GtfB); GtfB readily binds to C. albicans cells in an active form, producing glucans locally that provide enhanced binding sites for S. mutans. However, knowledge is limited about the mechanisms by which the bacterial exoenzyme binds to and functions on the fungal surface to promote this unique cross-kingdom interaction. In this study, we use atomic force microscopy to understand the strength and binding dynamics modulating GtfB-C. albicans adhesive interactions in situ. Single-molecule force spectroscopy with GtfB-functionalized atomic force microscopy tips demonstrated that the enzyme binds with remarkable strength to the C. albicans cell surface (~2 nN) and showed a low dissociation rate, suggesting a highly stable bond. Strikingly, the binding strength of GtfB to the C. albicans surface was ~2.5-fold higher and the binding stability, ~20 times higher, as compared with the enzyme adhesion to S. mutans. Furthermore, adhesion force maps showed an intriguing pattern of GtfB binding. GtfB adhered heterogeneously on the surface of C. albicans, showing a higher frequency of adhesion failure but large sections of remarkably strong binding forces, suggesting the presence of GtfB binding domains unevenly distributed on the fungal surface. In contrast, GtfB bound uniformly across the S. mutans cell surface with less adhesion failure and a narrower range of binding forces (vs. the C. albicans surface). The data provide the first insights into the mechanisms underlying the adhesive and mechanical properties governing GtfB interactions with C. albicans. The strong and highly stable GtfB binding to C. albicans could explain, at least in part, why this bacterially derived exoenzyme effectively modulates this virulent cross-kingdom interaction.

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