Scientific reports

Streptococcus mutans copes with heat stress by multiple transcriptional regulons modulating virulence and energy metabolism.

PMID 26251057


Dental caries is closely associated with the virulence of Streptococcus mutans. The virulence expression of S. mutans is linked to its stress adaptation to the changes in the oral environment. In this work we used whole-genome microarrays to profile the dynamic transcriptomic responses of S. mutans during physiological heat stress. In addition, we evaluated the phenotypic changes, including, eDNA release, initial biofilm formation, extracellular polysaccharides generation, acid production/acid tolerance, and ATP turnover of S. mutans during heat stress. There were distinct patterns observed in the way that S. mutans responded to heat stress that included 66 transcription factors for the expression of functional genes being differentially expressed. Especially, response regulators of two component systems (TCSs), the repressors of heat shock proteins and regulators involved in sugar transporting and metabolism co-ordinated to enhance the cell's survival and energy generation against heat stress in S. mutans.