Genome sequence of Streptococcus mutans UA159, a cariogenic dental pathogen

Dragana Ajdić, William M. McShan, Robert E. McLaughlin, Gorana Savić, Jin Chang, Matthew B. Carson, Charles Primeaux, Runying Tian, Steve Kenton, Honggui Jia, Shaoping Lin, Yudong Qian, Shuling Li, Hua Zhu, Fares Najar, Hongshing Lai, Jim White, Bruce A. Roe, Joseph J. Ferretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

770 Scopus citations


Streptococcus mutans is the leading cause of dental caries (tooth decay) worldwide and is considered to be the most cariogenic of all of the oral streptococci. The genome of S. mutans UA159, a serotype c strain, has been completely sequenced and is composed of 2,030,936 base pairs. It contains 1,963 ORFs, 63% of which have been assigned putative functions. The genome analysis provides further insight into how S. mutans has adapted to surviving the oral environment through resource acquisition, defense against host factors, and use of gene products that maintain its niche against microbial competitors. S. mutans metabolizes a wide variety of carbohydrates via nonoxidative pathways, and all of these pathways have been identified, along with the associated transport systems whose genes account for almost 15% of the genome. Virulence genes associated with extracellular adherent glucan production, adhesins, acid tolerance, proteases, and putative hemolysins have been identified. Strain UA159 is naturally competent and contains all of the genes essential for competence and quorum sensing. Mobile genetic elements in the form of IS elements and transposons are prominent in the genome and include a previously uncharacterized conjugative transposon and a composite transposon containing genes for the synthesis of antibiotics of the gramicidin/bacitracin family; however, no bacteriophage genomes are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14434-14439
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 29 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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