Mechanism of adherence of Streptococcus mutans to smooth surfaces. II. Nature of the binding site and the adsorption of dextran-levan synthetase enzymes on the cell-wall surface of the streptococcus

Mukasa, H.; Slade, H.D.

Infection and Immunity 9(2): 419-429


ISSN/ISBN: 0019-9567
PMID: 4205950
Accession: 043606029

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The mechanism of adsorption of the Streptococcus mutans enzymes responsible for the synthesis of insoluble dextran-levan to the S. mutans cell-wall binding sites has been studied. Certain characteristics of these binding sites are presented. The adsorption of these enzymes to the cell surface occurred rapidly without the addition of a source of energy and over a pH range of 3 to 11. The adsorption was inhibited by soluble dextran, probably due to the strong affinity of the polymer to the enzyme. All other polymers and sugars studied showed little or no inhibition. The adsorption was also inhibited by antibody globulin to the a-d immunologically specific group antigen surface polysaccharide of S. mutans and by anti-dextran globulin. The inhibition by anti-a-d globulin is considered to be due to a restriction of access of enzyme to the binding site of the enzyme which may be located in close proximity to the group antigen. On the other hand, anti-dextran globulin appeared to directly inhibit the adsorption by covering the binding site. Dextranase destroyed the binding site and released glucose from the S. mutans cells. These data indicate that S. mutans grown in media containing glucose possesses a small amount of dextran on the cell surface, and that this dextran is, or is a part of, the binding site for enzymes which synthesize the insoluble dextran-levan polymer. Trypsin inhibited the synthesis of insoluble polysaccharide and the adherence of cells. It is not clear in this case that destruction of the binding sites occurred. These data present a partial explanation of the processes which may be concerned in the formation of dental plaque on the smooth surfaces of teeth.