Wenxin Luo, Mengdie Zhang, Xuedong Zhou, Xin Xu, Xingqun Cheng

Polyketides/nonribosomal peptides from Streptococcus mutans and their ecological roles in dental biofilm

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • General Dentistry
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology

AbstractStreptococcus mutans is the major etiological agent of dental caries in humans. S. mutans overgrowth within dental biofilms can trigger biofilm dysbiosis, ultimately leading to the initiation or progression of dental caries. Polyketides and nonribosomal peptides (PKs/NRPs) are secondary metabolites with complex structures encoded by a cluster of biosynthetic genes. Although not essential for microbial growth, PKs/NRPs play important roles in physiological regulation. Three main classes of hybrid PKs/NRPs in S. mutans have been identified, including mutanobactin, mutanocyclin, and mutanofactin, encoded by the mub, muc, and muf gene clusters, respectively. These three hybrid PKs/NRPs play important roles in environmental adaptation, biofilm formation, and interspecies competition of S. mutans. In this review, we provide an overview of the major hybrid PKs/NRPs of S. mutans, including mutanobactin, mutanocyclin, and mutanofactin and address their ecological roles in dental biofilms. We place specific emphasis on important questions that are yet to be answered to provide novel insights into the cariogenic mechanism of S. mutans and facilitate improved management of dental caries. We highlight that S. mutans PKs/NRPs may be potential novel targets for the prevention and treatment of S. mutans‐induced dental caries. The development of genomics, metabolomics, and mass spectrometry, together with the integration of various databases and bioinformatics tools, will allow the identification and synthesis of other secondary metabolites. Elucidating their physicochemical properties and their ecological roles in oral biofilms is crucial in the identification of novel targets for the ecological management of dental caries.

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