Original Article

Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of Streptococcus mutans strains isolated from patients with dental caries


Background and Objectives: The oral cavity harbors numerous Streptococcus mutans strains which display remarkable genotypic and phenotypic diversity. This study evaluated the genotypic and phenotypic diversity of 209 S. mutans strains isolated from 336 patients with dental caries and compared with the universal reference strain, UA159.
Materials and Methods: Selective cultivation on mitis-salivaries-bacitracin agar and species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was carried out to isolate and identify the 209 S. mutans isolates from 336 patients with dental caries. Arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction (AP-PCR), PCR amplification of specific gene, acid production and biofilm formation capacity were performed to evaluate the genotypic and phenotypic variation. Student’s t-test and Chi-square test were used for analysis of variables and a probability (P) of <0.05 was considered as significant.
Results: Our study revealed a high degree of genotypic and phenotypic variability among the clinical strains. We observed significant differences in colony morphology, generation time, biofilm formation, and acid production while growing in culture medium. All the clinical isolates were able to lower pH while growing in Todd-Hewitt broth. Consistent with phenotypic variations, we also observed genotypic variation by AP-PCR and gene specific PCR. AP-PCR analysis suggested that most of the patients with dental caries have distinct type of S. mutans strains. Genes related to various two component systems were highly conserved among the isolated strains, however, bacteriocin encoding genes such as nlmAB, nlmC were absent in nearly half of the clinical isolates.
Conclusion: Our results support that S. mutans clinical isolates have wide genotypic diversity and show variation in growth kinetics, acid production, acid tolerance and biofilm formation capacity and indicates the presence of diverse mechanism to initiate and establish the biofilm lifestyle which leads to tooth decay.

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IssueVol 13 No 4 (2021) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijm.v13i4.6968
Dental caries; Streptococcus mutans; Genotype; Phenotype; Virulence

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How to Cite
Shahadat Hossain M, Alam S, Nibir Y, Tusty T, Bulbul S, Islam M, Hossain M. Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of Streptococcus mutans strains isolated from patients with dental caries. Iran J Microbiol. 2021;13(4):449-457.