Streptococcus mutans and other viridans streptococci have been implicated as major etiological agents of infective endocarditis. The serotype-specific rhamnose-glucose polysaccharide (RGP) of S. mutans has several biological functions that appear to be essential for the induction of infective endocarditis. The aim of this study was to examine the contribution of RGP to the infectivity of S. mutans in infective endocarditis using a rat model. The RGP-defective mutant of S. mutans showed reduced ability to induce infective endocarditis compared to the parental strain. The ability of S. mutans to induce infective endocarditis was not consistent with the binding capacity of the organism to extracellular matrix proteins. The results suggest that S. mutans containing whole RGP is more virulent than the RGP-defective mutant, and the RGP has an important role for the induction of infective endocarditis by S. mutans.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)