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L-Arginine Destabilizes Oral Multi-Species Biofilm Communities Developed in Human Saliva

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nicholas JakubovicsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The amino acid L-arginine inhibits bacterial coaggregation, is involved in cell-cell signaling, and alters bacterial metabolism in a broad range of species present in the human oral cavity. Given the range of effects of L-arginine on bacteria, we hypothesized that L-arginine might alter multi-species oral biofilm development and cause developed multi-species biofilms to disassemble. Because of these potential biofilm-destabilizing effects, we also hypothesized that L-arginine might enhance the efficacy of antimicrobials that normally cannot rapidly penetrate biofilms. A static microplate biofilm system and a controlled-flow microfluidic system were used to develop multi-species oral biofilms derived from pooled unfiltered cell-containing saliva (CCS) in pooled filter-sterilized cell-free saliva (CFS) at 37oC. The addition of pH neutral L-arginine monohydrochloride (LAHCl) to CFS was found to exert negligible antimicrobial effects but significantly altered biofilm architecture in a concentration-dependent manner. Under controlled flow, the biovolume of biofilms (μm3/μm2) developed in saliva containing 100-500 mM LAHCl were up to two orders of magnitude less than when developed without LAHCI. Culture-independent community analysis demonstrated that 500 mM LAHCl substantially altered biofilm species composition: the proportion of Streptococcus and Veillonella species increased and the proportion of Gram-negative bacteria such as Neisseria and Aggregatibacter species was reduced. Adding LAHCl to pre-formed biofilms also reduced biovolume, presumably by altering cell-cell interactions and causing cell detachment. Furthermore, supplementing 0.01% cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), an antimicrobial commonly used for the treatment of dental plaque, with 500 mM LAHCl resulted in greater penetration of CPC into the biofilms and significantly greater killing compared to a non-supplemented 0.01% CPC solution. Collectively, this work demonstrates that LAHCl moderates multi-species oral biofilm development and community composition and enhances the activity of CPC. The incorporation of LAHCl into oral healthcare products may be useful for enhanced biofilm control.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kolderman E, Bettampadi D, Samarian D, Dowd SE, Foxman B, Jakubovics NS, Rickard AH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLOS ONE

Year: 2015

Volume: 10

Issue: 5

Online publication date: 06/05/2015

Acceptance date: 04/02/2015

Date deposited: 12/11/2015

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121835

PubMed id: 25946040


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