Murein hydrolase LytF of Streptococcus sanguinis and the ecological consequences of competence development

Nyssa Cullin, Sylvio Redanz, Kirsten J. Lampi, Justin Merritt, Jens Kreth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The overall health of the oral cavity is dependent on proper homeostasis between health-associated bacterial colonizers and bacteria known to promote dental caries. Streptococcus sanguinis is a health-associated commensal organism, a known early colonizer of the acquired tooth pellicle, and is naturally competent. We have shown that LytF, a competence-controlled murein hydrolase, is capable of inducing the release of extracellular DNA (eDNA) from oral bacteria. Precipitated LytF and purified LytF were used as treatments against planktonic cultures and biofilms. Larger amounts of eDNA were released from cultures treated with protein samples containing LytF. Additionally, LytF could affect biofilm formation and cellular morphology. Biofilm formation was significantly decreased in the lytF-complemented strain, in which increased amounts of LytF are present. The same strain also exhibited cell morphology defects in both planktonic cultures and biofilms. Furthermore, the LytF cell morphology phenotype was reproducible in wild-type cells using purified LytF protein. In sum, our findings demonstrate that LytF can induce the release of eDNA from oral bacteria, and they suggest that, without proper regulation of LytF, cells display morphological abnormalities that contribute to biofilm malformation. In the context of the oral biofilm, LytF may play important roles as part of the competence and biofilm development programs, as well as increasing the availability of eDNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01709-17
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Streptococcus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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