• Identification and characterisation of two extracellular proteases of Streptococcus mutans

      Harrington, Dean J.; Russell, R.R.B. (1994-08)
      Streptococcus mutans was shown to produce two extracellular proteases capable of degrading both gelatin and collagen-like substrates. These enzymes have molecular masses of 52 and 50 kDa when analysed by SDS-PAGE. Both enzymes were inhibited by EDTA, but not by a range of other inhibitors with different specificities, indicating that they are metalloproteases. The activity of EDTA-inactivated enzymes could be restored by the addition of manganese and zinc. The identical inhibition and restoration profiles of the two enzymes suggest that one of the proteases may be a degradation product of the other.
    • Identification and Genetic Characterisation of Melibiose-Negative Isolates of Streptococcus mutans

      Colby, S.M.; Harrington, Dean J.; Russell, R.R.B. (1995)
      Streptococcus mutans is frequently identified on the basis of phenotypic characteristics such as the ability to ferment carbohydrates. The usefulness of some of these identification tests may be limited in the case of isolates which are atypical with regard to their fermentation properties. We previously identified isolates of S. mutans which were unable to ferment melibiose, a characteristic which is included in some typing schemes. In all of these isolates there was a large chromosomal deletion which included the multiple sugar metabolism (msm) operon which encodes several genes involved in the uptake and metabolism of a number of sugars including melibiose. In the present study, sugar fermentation tests, ribotyping, colony hybridisation with DNA probes and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were used to investigate the relatedness of these atypical isolates. The PCR and colony hybridisation procedures were based on amplification and detection of two genes: the wapA gene which encodes a surface protein found in all S. mutans strains and the gtfA gene which lies within the msm operon. The colony hybridisation and PCR results confirmed loss of the gtfA gene in the melibiose-negative isolates. Three new melibiose-negative isolates were also identified, but in only 2 of these was the gtfA gene absent, the third did not appear to have lost this region of the chromosome. Biotyping, as well as ribotyping based on an EcoRl digest of chromosomal DNA, revealed that the melibiose-negative isolates fell into a number of distinct groups. The identification of an isolate which is unable to ferment melibiose but does not appear to have lost the msm operon indicates that the melibiose-negative phenotype can arise from more than one type of genetic event.
    • Identity of Streptococcus mutans Surface Protein Antigen III and Wall-Associated Protein Antigen A of Streptococcus mutans

      Russell, M.W.; Harrington, Dean J.; Russell, R.R.B. (1995-02)
      Preparations of Streptococcus mutans surface proteins AgIII and antigen A from different laboratories were compared with regard to amino acid composition, N-terminal amino acid sequence, electrophoretic mobility, and antigenic similarity. Despite previous observations of differences in physical properties, data indicate that these two preparations represent the same protein.
    • Multiple changes in cell wall antigens of isogenic mutants of Streptococcus mutans

      Harrington, Dean J.; Russell, R.R.B. (1993-09)
      Isogenic mutants of Streptococcus mutans LT11, deficient in the production of the wall-associated protein antigens A and B, were generated by recombinant DNA technology. The hydrophobicity, adherence, and aggregation of the mutants were compared with those of the parent strain. These studies indicated that hydrophobicity, adherence, and saliva- or sucrose-induced aggregation were unaltered in the A- mutant but that hydrophobicity and adherence to saliva-coated hydroxylapatite were greatly reduced in the B- mutant whilst sucrose-dependent adherence and aggregation were increased. To determine whether these changes correlated with changes in the mutated gene product alone, the levels of a number of cell wall antigens were determined in each of the mutants. The loss of antigen A resulted in significantly reduced levels of wall-associated lipoteichoic acid, and loss of antigen B resulted in reductions in both antigen A and lipoteichoic acid. Data presented here thus suggest that changes in the expression of one wall antigen can have a dramatic effect on the levels of others.