Live-cell and super-resolution imaging reveal that the distribution of wall-associated protein A is correlated with the cell chain integrity of Streptococcus mutans

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Journal Article
Molecular Oral Microbiology, 2015, 30 (5), pp. 376 - 383
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© 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Streptococcus mutans is a primary pathogen responsible for dental caries. It has an outstanding ability to form biofilm, which is vital for virulence. Previous studies have shown that knockout of Wall-associated protein A (WapA) affects cell chain and biofilm formation of S. mutans. As a surface protein, the distribution of WapA remains unknown, but it is important to understand the mechanism underlying the function of WapA. This study applied the fluorescence protein mCherry as a reporter gene to characterize the dynamic distribution of WapA in S. mutans via time-lapse and super-resolution fluorescence imaging. The results revealed interesting subcellular distribution patterns of WapA in single, dividing and long chains of S. mutans cells. It appears at the middle of the cell and moves to the poles as the cell grows and divides. In a cell chain, after each round of cell division, such dynamic relocation results in WapA distribution at the previous cell division sites, resulting in a pattern where WapA is located at the boundary of two adjacent cell pairs. This WapA distribution pattern corresponds to the breaking segmentation of wapA deletion cell chains. The dynamic relocation of WapA through the cell cycle increases our understanding of the mechanism of WapA in maintaining cell chain integrity and biofilm formation.
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