Transformation of Streptococcus mutans with chromosomal and shuttle plasmid (pYA629) DNAs

H. H. Murchison, J. F. Barrett, G. A. Cardineau, R. Curtiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Transformation (i.e., DNase-sensitive genetic transfer) of strains of Streptococcus mutans representing serotypes c and e was accomplished by using chromosomal DNA from a Rif(r) Str(r) Spc(r) isolate of strains GS5 (UAB525) and a chimeric plasmid, pYA629. Shuttle plasmid pYA629 comprises the S. mutans plasmid pVA318, an inducible erythromycin resistance determinant originally isolated from a group A streptococcal strain, the tetracycline resistance gene and replication region of the Escherichia coli plasmid pBR322, and the promoter region of the S. mutans gene for aspartate β-semialdehyde dehydrogenase. The strains examined for recipient ability included those known to lack a cryptic plasmid (GS5, UA130, UA159, and MT8148) and those known to contain a widely disseminated 5.8-kilobase cryptic plasmid (LM7, V318, UA101, UA174, and 3098791). The transformation frequencies in GS5 for GS5 chromosomal antibiotic resistance markers were comparable to those reported by others, but UA101, UA130 UA159 and UA174 were transformed with both chromosomal and plasmid markers at much higher efficiencies. In a larger strain survey, strains containing the 5.8-kilobase cryptic plasmid were more frequently transformable with both chromosomal and pYA629 DNAs than were strains lacking this cryptic plasmid. All plasmid-containing strains except LM7 lost their resident cryptic plasmids when transformed with pYA629. LM7 transformed with pYA629 retained pLM7. There are therefore at least two incompatibility groups among S. mutans cryptic plasmid. yPA629 DNA isolated from either E. coli or S. mutans transformed S. mutans with equal efficiency. pYA629 DNA isolated from S. mutans transformed both restriction-deficient and restriction-proficient E. coli recipients. Therefore, the strains of S. mutans used lack a restriction-modification system for pYA629 DNA sequences. S. mutans strains that are readily transformable, display maximal cariogenicity in gnotobiotic rats, and give high scores for in vitro measures of important virulence attributes have been identified to facilitate studies on the genetic basis and control of virulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-282
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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