The ability of certain oral biofilm bacteria to moderate pH through arginine metabolism by the arginine deiminase system (ADS) is a deterrent to the development of dental caries. Here, we characterize a novel Streptococcus strain, designated strain A12, isolated from supragingival dental plaque of a caries-free individual. A12 not only expressed the ADS pathway at high levels under a variety of conditions but also effectively inhibited growth and two intercellular signaling pathways of the dental caries pathogen Streptococcus mutans. A12 produced copious amounts of H2O2 via the pyruvate oxidase enzyme that were sufficient to arrest the growth of S. mutans. A12 also produced a protease similar to challisin (Sgc) of Streptococcus gordonii that was able to block the competence-stimulating peptide (CSP)-ComDE signaling system, which is essential for bacteriocin production by S. mutans. Wild-type A12, but not an sgc mutant derivative, could protect the sensitive indicator strain Streptococcus sanguinis SK150 from killing by the bacteriocins of S. mutans. A12, but not S. gordonii, could also block the XIP (comX-inducing peptide) signaling pathway, which is the proximal regulator of genetic competence in S. mutans, but Sgc was not required for this activity. The complete genome sequence of A12 was determined, and phylogenomic analyses compared A12 to streptococcal reference genomes. A12 was most similar to Streptococcus australis and Streptococcus parasanguinis but sufficiently different that it may represent a new species. A12-like organisms may play crucial roles in the promotion of stable, health-associated oral biofilm communities by moderating plaque pH and interfering with the growth and virulence of caries pathogens. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Journal: Applied and environmental microbiology