Mechanistic insights into the inhibitory effect of theaflavins on virulence factors production in Streptococcus mutans.
AMB Express. 2021 Jul 9 ;11(1):102. Epub 2021 Jul 9. PMID: 34244882
Streptococcus mutans is the primary etiological agent associated with cariogenic process. The present study aimed to investigate the antibacterial and anti-virulence activities of theaflavins (TFs) to Streptococcus mutans UA159 as well as the underlying mechanisms. The results showed that TFs were capable of suppressing the acid production, cell adherence, water-insoluble exopolysaccharides production, and biofilm formation by S. mutans UA159 with a dosage-dependent manner while without influencing the cell growth. By a genome-wide transcriptome analysis (RNA-seq), we found that TFs attenuated the biofilm formation of S. mutans UA159 by inhibiting glucosyltransferases activity and the production of glucan-binding proteins (GbpB and GbpC) instead of directly blocking the expression of genes coding for glucosyltransferases. Further, TFs inhibited the expression of genes implicated in peptidoglycan synthesis, glycolysis, lipid synthesis, two-component system, signaling peptide transport (comA), oxidative stress response, and DNA replication and repair, suggesting that TFs suppressed the virulence factors of S. mutans UA159 by affecting the signal transduction and cell envelope stability, and weakening the ability of cells on oxidative stress resistance. In addition, an upregulated expression of the genes involved in protein biosynthesis, amino acid metabolism, and transport system upon TFs treatment indicated that cells increase the protein synthesis and nutrients uptake as one self-protective mechanism to cope with stress caused by TFs. The results of this study increase our current understanding of the anti-virulence activity of TFs on S. mutans and provide clues for the use of TFs in the prevention of dental caries.