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Community Interactions of Oral Streptococci

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nicholas JakubovicsORCiD


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It is now clear that the most common oral diseases, dental caries and periodontitis, are caused by mixed-species communities rather than by individual pathogens working in isolation. Oral streptococci are central to these disease processes since they are frequently the first microorganisms to colonize oral surfaces and they are numerically the dominant microorganisms in the human mouth. Numerous interactions between oral streptococci and other bacteria have been documented. These are thought to be critical for the development of mixed-species oral microbial communities and for the transition from oral health to disease. Recent metagenomic studies are beginning to shed light on the co-occurrence patterns of streptococci with other oral bacteria. Refinements in microscopy techniques and biofilm models are providing detailed insights into the spatial distribution of streptococci in oral biofilms. Targeted genetic manipulation is increasingly being applied for the analysis of specific genes and networks that modulate interspecies interactions. From this work, it is clear that streptococci produce a range of extracellular factors that promote their integration into mixed-species communities and enable them to form social networks with neighboring taxa. These "community integration factors" include coaggregation-mediating adhesins and receptors, small signaling molecules such as peptides or autoinducer-2, bacteriocins, by-products of metabolism including hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid, and a range of extracellular enzymes. Here, we provide an overview of various types of community interactions between oral streptococci and other microorganisms, and we consider the possibilities for the development of new technologies to interfere with these interactions to help control oral biofilms.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jakubovics NS, Yassin SA, Rickard AH

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Advances in Applied Microbiology

Year: 2014

Volume: 87

Pages: 43-110

Print publication date: 01/01/2014

ISSN (print): 0065-2164

ISSN (electronic):



DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800261-2.00002-5

Notes: Chapter Two – Community Interactions of Oral Streptococci