Critical roles of arginine in growth and biofilm development byStreptococcus gordonii

  • Effects of arginine onStreptococcus gordonii
  • Nicholas S. Jakubovics, Jill C. Robinson, Derek S. Samarian, Ethan Kolderman, Sufian A. Yassin, Deepti Bettampadi, Matthew Bashton, Alexander H. Rickard
  • Molecular Microbiology, May 2015, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/mmi.13023

Effects of arginine on Streptococcus gordonii

What is it about?

This paper shows how an important oral bacterium senses and responds to arginine. External arginine concentration is shown to be a key factor for growth and biofilm formation. In fact, high concentrations of arginine (such as those currently used in some oral hygiene products) disrupt biofilms.

Why is it important?

There has been a lot of work recently around the concept of 'nutritional virulence', whereby nutrient scavenging systems of disease-causing bacteria have been shown to be important in pathogenicity. Here, we show that exogenous nutrients, and specifically L-arginine, are also an important factor for the colonization of oral bacteria. Key functions such as growth and biofilm formation are tightly regulated in response to L-arginine in an oral streptococcus.


Dr Nicholas S Jakubovics
Newcastle University

This paper dissects the pathways of arginine sensing in Streptococcus gordonii at the molecular level. Streptococci and other lactic acid bacteria are unusual in that they have multiple systems for sensing exogenous arginine and regulating gene expression in response. We used combinatorial mutagenesis to investigate the role of three homologous arginine-responsive transcriptoin regulators and showed that each is important in the global response of S. gordonii to arginine. The presence of multiple regulators is consistent with a key role for arginine as a signal for growth or biofilm formation.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Nicholas S Jakubovics