Phenotypic Heterogeneity of Streptococcus mutans in Dentin
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Information concerning phenotypic heterogeneity of Streptococcus mutans in carious dentin is sparse. Matrix-assisted laser-desorption/ionizationtime- of-flight mass-spectrometry (MALDI-TOFMS) facilitates the phenotypic differentiation of bacteria to the subspecies level. To verify a supposed influence of restorative treatment on the phenotypic heterogeneity of S. mutans, we isolated and compared a total of 222 S. mutans strains from dentin samples of 21 human deciduous molars during caries excavation (T1) and 8 wks (T2) after removal of the temporary restoration. Phenotypic heterogeneity was determined by MALDI-TOF-MS and hierarchical clustering. Thirty-six distinct S. mutans phenotypes could be identified. Although indistinguishable phenotypes were found in the same teeth at T1 and T2, as well as in different teeth of individual participants, the phenotypic heterogeneity increased significantly, from 1.4 phenotypes per S. mutans-positive dentin sample at T1 to 2.2 phenotypes at T2. We attribute this to an adaptation of S. mutans to the modified environment under the restoration following caries excavation.
Journal of dental research
Dentistry not elsewhere classified