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Genetic study reveals the origins of cavity-causing bacteria

Date:
December 24, 2009
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Researchers have uncovered the complete genetic make-up of the cavity-causing bacterium Bifidobacterium dentium Bd1, revealing the genetic adaptations that allow this microorganism to live and cause decay in the human oral cavity.

Researchers have uncovered the complete genetic make-up of the cavity-causing bacterium Bifidobacterium dentium Bd1, revealing the genetic adaptations that allow this microorganism to live and cause decay in the human oral cavity. The study, led by Marco Ventura's Probiogenomics laboratory at the University of Parma, and Prof. Douwe van Sinderen and Dr Paul O'Toole of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork, is published December 24 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.

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Bifidobacteria, largely known as long-term beneficial gut bacteria, are often included as probiotic components of food to aid digestion and boost the immune system. However, not all species within the genus Bifidobacterium provide beneficial effects to the host's health. In fact, the Bifidobacterium dentium species is an opportunistic pathogen since it has been linked to the development of tooth decay. The genome sequence of B. dentium Bd1 reveals how this microorganism has adapted to the oral environment through specialized nutrient acquisition features, acid tolerance, defences against antimicrobial substances and other gene products that increase fitness and competitiveness within the oral niche.

This report identifies, through various genomic approaches, specific adaptations of a Bifidobacterium taxon to a lifestyle as a tooth decay-causing bacterium. The data in this study indicate that the genome of this opportunistic pathogen has evolved through only a small number of horizontal gene acquisition events, highlighting the narrow boundary that separates bacteria that are long-term residents on or in the human body from opportunistic pathogens.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ventura et al. The Bifidobacterium dentium Bd1 Genome Sequence Reflects Its Genetic Adaptation to the Human Oral Cavity. PLoS Genetics, 2009; 5 (12): e1000785 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000785

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Genetic study reveals the origins of cavity-causing bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223230703.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2009, December 24). Genetic study reveals the origins of cavity-causing bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223230703.htm
Public Library of Science. "Genetic study reveals the origins of cavity-causing bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223230703.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

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