Int J Oral Biol.  2019 Jun;44(2):31-36. 10.11620/IJOB.2019.44.2.31.

Virulence genes of Streptococcus mutans and dental caries

  • 1Department of Oral Biochemistry, School of Dentistry, Wonkwang University, Iksan 54538, Republic of Korea.


Streptococcus mutans is one of the important bacteria that forms dental biofilm and cause dental caries. Virulence genes in S. mutans can be classified into the genes involved in bacterial adhesion, extracellular polysaccharide formation, biofilm formation, sugar uptake and metabolism, acid tolerance, and regulation. The genes involved in bacterial adhesion are gbps (gbpA, gbpB, and gbpC) and spaP. The gbp genes encode glucan-binding protein (GBP) A, GBP B, and GBP C. The spaP gene encodes cell surface antigen, SpaP. The genes involved in extracellular polysaccharide formation are gtfs (gtfB, gtfC, and gtfD) and ftf, which encode glycosyltransferase (GTF) B, GTF C, and GTF D and fructosyltransferase, respectively. The genes involved in biofilm formation are smu630, relA, and comDE. The smu630 gene is important for biofilm formation. The relA and comDE genes contribute to quorum-sensing and biofilm formation. The genes involved in sugar uptake and metabolism are eno, ldh, and relA. The eno gene encodes bacterial enolase, which catalyzes the formation of phosphoenolpyruvate. The ldh gene encodes lactic acid dehydrogenase. The relA gene contributes to the regulation of the glucose phosphotransferase system. The genes related to acid tolerance are atpD, aguD, brpA, and relA. The atpD gene encodes F1F0-ATPase, a proton pump that discharges H⁺ from within the bacterium to the outside. The aguD gene encodes agmatine deiminase system and produces alkali to overcome acid stress. The genes involved in regulation are vicR, brpA, and relA.


Streptococcus mutans; Dental caries; Virulence factor; Dental biofilm
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