Journal of dental research

A quantitative study of calcium binding and aggregation in selected oral bacteria.

PMID 8418112


By means of micro-equilibrium dialysis, calcium binding capacities and affinities were measured in three different oral bacteria, and the effects of extracellular polysaccharide, pH, and aggregation were investigated. Binding capacities of 31.0 +/- 2.1 (C. matruchotii), 34.7 +/- 3.7 (S. sanguis), and 41.5 +/- 5.4 (S. downei) mumol calcium/g wet weight of cells were found at pH 7.0, falling to 21.4 +/- 0.8 mumol calcium/g wet wt. cells at pH 5.0 for S. downei. Dissociation constants were found to vary between 0.78 +/- 0.24 and 1.77 +/- 0.30 mmol/L (at pH 7.0, depending on species), and between 0.62 +/- 0.04 and 1.77 +/- 0.30 (in the pH range 5.0 to 7.0, for S. downei only). Examination suggested that at pH 7.0 calcium-facilitated bacterial association occurs in the streptococci with calcium uptake curves analogous with those of positively cooperative systems. Desorption of calcium from aggregated S. downei suggested that the mechanism of desorption differed from that of uptake. This may be an important factor in plaque formation and in the binding of cells to the surface of formed plaque. Plaque calcium forms a reservoir, readily released by a pH drop, which may increase plaque fluid saturation and reduce demineralization.

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