Streptococcus mutans glutamate binding protein (GlnH) as antigen target for a mucosal anti-caries vaccine

Gisela de Souza Pereira, Milene Tavares Batista, Nayara Fernanda Barros dos Santos, Hélic Moreira Passos, Dalva Adelina da Silva, Ewerton Lucena Ferreira, Luís Carlos de Souza Ferreira, Rita de Cássia Café Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In recent years, several studies have demonstrated that bacterial ABC transporters present relevant antigen targets for the development of vaccines against bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Enterococcus faecalis. In Streptococcus mutans, the glutamate transporter operon (glnH), encoding an ABC transporter, is associated with acid tolerance and represents an important virulence-associated factor for the development of dental caries. Results: In this study, we generated a recombinant form of the S. mutans GlnH protein (rGlnH) in Bacillus subtilis. Mice immunized with this protein antigen elicited strong antigen-specific antibody responses after sublingual administration of a vaccine formulation containing a mucosal adjuvant, a non-toxic derivative of the heat-labile toxin (LTK63) originally produced by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strains. Serum anti-rGlnH antibodies reduced adhesion of S. mutans to the oral cavity of naïve mice. Moreover, mice actively immunized with rGlnH were partially protected from oral colonization after exposure to the S. mutans NG8 strain. Conclusions: Our results indicate that S. mutans rGlnH is a potential target antigen capable of inducing specific and protective antibody responses after immunization. Overall, these observations raise the prospect of the development of mucosal anti-caries vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1941-1949
Number of pages9
JournalBrazilian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • ABC transporters
  • Anti-caries vaccines
  • Dental caries
  • GlnH
  • LTK63
  • Mucosal adjuvant
  • Streptococcus mutans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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