Molecular and clinical analyses of the gene encoding the collagen-binding adhesin of Streptococcus mutans.

Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, Suita, Osaka, Japan.
Journal of Medical Microbiology (Impact Factor: 2.27). 04/2009; 58(Pt 4):469-75. DOI: 10.1099/jmm.0.007559-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Streptococcus mutans is a known pathogen of dental caries and its major cell surface antigens have been widely investigated. Recently, an approximately 120 kDa Cnm protein with binding properties to type I collagen was identified, and its encoding gene (cnm) cloned and sequenced. In the present study, we sequenced cnm from 47 different clinical S. mutans strains and found that the nucleotide alignment of the collagen-binding domain was well conserved. We devised a PCR method for identifying the cnm gene, examined the prevalence of cnm-positive S. mutans strains in various mother-child groups, and assessed the significance of such strains for transmission and dental caries. The detection rate of cnm-positive strains was significantly lower in strains isolated from Japanese children in the 2000s (8.0 %) as compared to those isolated in the 1980s (15.8 %) (P<0.05). Furthermore, the presence of S. mutans possessing cnm in salivary specimens collected from 55 S. mutans-positive mother-child pairs was 40 and 32.7 % in the mothers and children, respectively. The frequency of cnm-positive children whose mothers were also positive was 72 %, which was significantly higher than that of cnm-positive children with negative mothers (P<0.0001, odds ratio 17.5). In addition, clinical parameters indicating dental caries were significantly increased in children with cnm-positive S. mutans in saliva (n=13), as compared to those with cnm-negative S. mutans (n=15) and S. mutans-negative children (n=20) (P<0.01). These results indicate that cnm-positive S. mutans strains are closely correlated with dental caries, while vertical transmission in cnm-positive mother-child pairs was also demonstrated.

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