Mechanism of the Adherence of Streptococcus mutans to Smooth Surfaces III. Purification and Properties of the Enzyme Complex Responsible for Adherence

Mukasa, H.; Slade, H.D.

Infection and Immunity 10(5): 1135-1145


ISSN/ISBN: 0019-9567
PMID: 16558101
Accession: 049548574

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Enzymes which possess the ability to cause the adherence of Streptococcus mutans cells to a smooth glass surface were purified 1,100 times by chromatography on agarose gel followed by hydroxylapatite gel. During the purification procedures, the enzymes from strain HS6 (group a) were examined for the synthesis of water-soluble and water-insoluble polysaccharide and the ability to produce adherence. The enzyme preparations producing adherence of the S. mutans cells in the presence of sucrose possessed a molecular size of about 400,000 to 2,000,000 and were composed of approximately equivalent amounts of dextran and levan sucrases and 5 to 30% polysaccharide. The most highly purified preparation contained a negligible amount of contaminating protein as judged by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, immunoelectrophoresis, and gel diffusion. In these three tests, the location of the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of insoluble polymer was detected by embedding or covering the enzyme-containing gel with a layer of sucrose-containing agarose gel and observing the formation of insoluble polymer. During purification the ability of all fractions to produce adherence was parallel with the enzyme activity responsible for the synthesis of insoluble polysaccharide from sucrose. About two-thirds of the sucrase enzyme complex in the S. mutans culture fluid synthesized water-soluble polymer. This complex, obtained by filtration through agarose gel, was smaller in molecular size, lower in sugar content, and did not produce adherence, in contrast to the enzyme complex which possessed adherence activity. The inhibition of the enzyme complex synthesizing soluble polymer required more anti-synthetase serum than that required to inhibit the synthesis of water-insoluble polymer. It is not known whether the lack of adherence activity in this enzyme was due to its smaller size and lower sugar content or the absence of unknown factors which are essential for its activity. The carbohydrate in these enzyme preparations, composed of glucose, may represent a primer molecule and/or a remnant of the polymer synthesized by the enzyme. The enzyme activity was not inhibited by anti-dextran globulin.