Antibiotic Resistance Gene Transfer between Streptococcus gordonii and Enterococcus faecalis in Root Canals of Teeth Ex Vivo

Christine M. Sedgley, Esther H. Lee, Matthew J. Martin, Susan E. Flannagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Multiple bacterial species coexisting in infected root canals might interact, but evidence for interspecies gene transfer is lacking. This study tested the hypothesis that horizontal exchange of antibiotic resistance can occur between different bacterial species in root canals. Transfer of the conjugative plasmid pAM81 carrying erythromycin resistance between 2 endodontic infection-associated species, Streptococcus gordonii and Enterococcus faecalis, was investigated in an ex vivo tooth model. Equal numbers of each species (one with pAM81 and the other plasmid-free) were combined in prepared root canals of sterilized teeth and incubated at 37°C. At 24 and 72 hours, bidirectional interspecies antibiotic resistance gene transfer was evident in microorganisms recovered from teeth; average transfer frequencies from S. gordonii to E. faecalis were 10-3 transconjugants per donor and from E. faecalis to S. gordonii were 10-6 and 10-7 transconjugants per donor at 24 and 72 hours, respectively. Microbial accumulations were observed on root canal walls with scanning electron microscopy. Horizontal genetic exchange in endodontic infections might facilitate adoption of an optimal genetic profile for survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-574
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of endodontics
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2008

Keywords

  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Streptococcus gordonii
  • conjugative plasmid
  • ex vivo
  • filter mating
  • gene transfer
  • microbial accumulations
  • root canal
  • scanning electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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