Environmental influences on competitive hydrogen peroxide production in Streptococcus gordonii

Lanyan Zheng, Andreas Itzek, Zhiyun Chen, Jens Kreth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Streptococcus gordonii is an important member of the oral biofilm. One of its phenotypic traits is the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). H2O2 is an antimicrobial component produced by S. gordonii that is able to antagonize the growth of cariogenic Streptococcus mutans. Strategies that modulate H2O2 production in the oral cavity may be useful as a simple therapeutic mechanism to improve oral health, but little is known about the regulation of H2O2 production. The enzyme responsible for H2O2 production is pyruvate oxidase, encoded by spxB. The functional studies of spxB expression and SpxB abundance presented in this report demonstrate a strong dependence on environmental oxygen tension and carbohydrate availability. Carbon catabolite repression (CCR) modulates spxB expression carbohydrate dependently. Catabolite control protein A (CcpA) represses spxB expression by direct binding to the spxB promoter, as shown by electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA). Promoter mutation studies revealed the requirement of two catabolite-responsive elements (CRE) for CcpA-dependent spxB regulation, as evaluated by spxB expression and phenotypic H2O2 production assays. Thus, molecular mechanisms for the control of S. gordonii spxB expression are presented for the first time, demonstrating the possibility of manipulating H2O2 production for increased competitive fitness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4318-4328
Number of pages11
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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