Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) is widely regarded as the main cause of human dental caries via three main virulence factors: adhesion, acidogenicity, and aciduricity. Citric acid is one of the antibiotic agents that can inhibit the virulence capabilities of S. mutans. A full understanding of the acidic resistance mechanisms (ARMs) causing bacteria to thrive in citrate transport is still elusive. We propose atomic force microscopy (AFM) equipped with a fluid cell to study the S. mutans ARMs via surface nanomechanical properties at citric acid pH 3.3, 2.3, and 1.8. Among these treatments, at pH 1.8, the effect of the citric acid shock in cells is demonstrated through a significantly low number of high adhesion zones, and a noticeable reduction in adhesion forces. Consequently, this study paves the way to understand that S. mutans ARMs are associated with the variation of the number of adhesion zones on the cell surface, which is influenced by citrate and proton transport. The results are expected to be useful in developing antibiotics or drugs involving citric acid for dental plaque treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry