Tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in children and adults and is caused by bacterial imbalance occurring in the mouth. A team of Illinois bioengineers set out to know more about one particular bad bacterium, Streptococcus sobrinus, that accelerates tooth decay in some people. The team, led by Dr. Paul Jensen, has successfully sequenced the complete genomes of three strains of Streptococcus sobrinus.
So, I invited Dr. Paul Jensen to tell us more about his team’s work and to give us insights on the impact of this work on oral health research. Dr. Jensen is Research Assistant and Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Chicago Illinois.
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Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager
Tooth decay, or dental caries, occurs when acid produced by oral bacteria demineralizes the tooth structure. The primary causative agents of caries are the Gram-positive mutans streptococci, including Streptococcus sobrinus. S. sobrinus occurs in 10 to 14% of carious lesions and is associated with the poorest clinical outcomes, especially among children.
No complete or reference genome exists for any S. sobrinus strain. The current draft genome for the S. sobrinus type strain SL1 contains 54 contigs. It is believed that the complete S. sobrinus genomes presented here are an important step toward understanding the genetic basis of cariogenesis by S. sobrinus.
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