Functional variation of the antigen I/Ii surface protein in Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus intermedius
Petersen, F.C.; Assev, S.; van der Mei, H.C.; Busscher, H.J.; Scheie, A.A.
Infection and Immunity 70(1): 249-256
ISSN/ISBN: 0019-9567 PMID: 11748190 DOI: 10.1128/iai.70.1.249-256.2002
Although Streptococcus intermedius and Streptococcus mutans are regarded as members of the commensal microflora of the body, S. intermedius is often associated with deep-seated purulent infections, whereas S. mutans is frequently associated with dental caries. In this study, we investigated the roles of the S. mutans and S. intermedius antigen I/II proteins in adhesion and modulation of cell surface characteristics. By using isogenic mutants, we show that the antigen I/II in S. mutans, but not in S. intermedius, was involved in adhesion to a salivary film under flowing conditions, as well as in binding to rat collagen type I. Binding to human fibronectin was a common function associated with the S. mutans and S. intermedius antigen I/II. Adhesion of S. mutans or S. intermedius to human collagen types I or IV was negligible. Hydrophobicity, as measured by water contact angles, and zeta potentials were unaltered in the S. intermedius mutant. The S. mutans isogenic mutants, on the other hand, exhibited more positive zeta potentials at physiological pH values than did the wild type. The results indicate common and species-specific roles for the antigen I/II in mediating the attachment of S. mutans and S. intermedius to host components and in determining cell surface properties.