We recently identified the genes responsible for the serotype c-specific glucose side chain formation of rhamnose-glucose polysaccharide (RGP) in Streptococcus mutans. These genes were located downstream from the rgpA through rgpF locus that is involved in the synthesis of RGP. In the present study, the corresponding chromosomal regions were isolated from serotype e and f strains and characterized. The rgpA through rgpF homologs were well conserved among the three serotypes. By contrast, the regions downstream from the rgpF homolog differed considerably among the three serotypes. Replacement of these regions in the different serotype strains converted their serotypic phenotypes, suggesting that these regions participated in serotype-specific glucose side chain formation in each serotype strain. Based on the differences among the DNA sequences of these regions, a PCR method was developed to determine serotypes. S. mutans was isolated from 198 of 432 preschool children (3 to 4 years old). The serotypes of all but one S. mutans isolate were identified by serotyping PCR. Serotype c predominated (84.8%), serotype e was the next most common (13.3%), and serotype f occured rarely (1.9%) in Japanese preschool children. Caries experience in the group with a mixed infection by multiple serotypes of S. mutans was significantly higher than that in the group with a monoinfection by a single serotype.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)