Hyun Koo, Pedro L. Rosalen, Jaime A. Cury, Yong K. Park, William H. Bowen
Glucosyltransferase (GTF; EC 18.104.22.168) enzymes produced by Streptococcus mutans have been recognized as virulence factors in the pathogenesis of dental caries (13, 45, 54). GTF enzymes catalyze the formation of soluble and insoluble α-linked glucans from sucrose and contribute significantly to the dental plaque matrix polysaccharide composition (41). Dental plaque is essentially a biofilm. Glucans promote the adherence and accumulation of cariogenic streptococci on the tooth surface and play an essential role in the development of pathogenic dental plaque related to caries-forming activity (19, 44, 54). S. mutans produces at least three GTFs: GTF B, which synthesizes a polymer of mostly insoluble α1,3-linked glucan; GTF C, which synthesizes a mixture of insoluble α1,3-linked glucan and soluble α1,6-linked glucan; and GTF D, which synthesizes α1,6-linked soluble glucan (2, 20, 21). An additional GTF enzyme from S. sanguinis (GTF Ss) may also be involved in the development of dental plaque (39, 50). S. sanguinis colonizes the tooth surface early in plaque formation, and its GTF catalyzes predominantly α1,6-linked soluble glucan (9). Enzymatically active GTFs are present in the soluble fraction of whole human saliva and are also incorporated into the salivary pellicle that is formed on the tooth surface (41, 42). Furthermore, the GTFs incorporated into an experimental pellicle demonstrate distinct physical and kinetic properties compared to the same enzymes in solution; GTFs C and D express enhanced enzymatic activity (43, 47, 51). A large proportion of the glucans synthesized by these surface-adsorbed GTFs is retained on the pellicle and may provide binding sites for S. mutans, contributing to the in situ formation of dental plaque (43, 44, 49). Therefore, inhibition of GTFs both in solution and adsorbed to the pellicle of tooth surface is one of the strategies by which to prevent dental caries and other plaque-related diseases.
* THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.