Salivary mucins reduce virulence of cavity causing S. mutans

Presenter: 

Caroline Werlang

Authors: 

Caroline Werlang, Wes Chen, Cassidy Mileti, Katharina Ribbeck

Author Affiliation: 

Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract: 

Salivary mucins reduce biofilm formation in cavity-causing Streptococcus mutans, a phenotype that is often linked with other virulence traits such as horizontal gene transfer. We show that purified mucin gels also reduce natural transformation and suppress the activation of quorum sensing associated genes. This suggests that the production of mucins is a method the host uses to suppress microbial virulence and gene transfer.