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16S rRNA RefSeq: V15.23    Genomic RefSeq: V10.1
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Streptococcus mutans (HMT-686)
Taxon Description:
Belongs to a phenotypic group called the mutans streptococci which include S. sobrinus S. ferus S. cricetus S. rattus and serotype 'h' [4]. Phylogenetically distinct from other species of Streptococcus.

Disease Associations:
Strong association with human dental caries considered the primary cause of caries although caries can occur in the absence of S. mutans. Also associated with endodontic lesions odontogenic infections infectious endocarditis and cardiovascular disease [2]Is carogenic in experimental animals (rats hamsters gerbils mice and monkey.Vaccines which target S. mutans are being developed to prevent caries formation [1].

Prevalence and Source:
Commonly detected on human teeth in supragingival plaque and usually associated with caries. Has been isolated from human feces.
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Class: Bacilli
Order: Lactobacillales
Genus: Streptococcus
Species:Streptococcus mutans
Status: Named - Cultured
Type/Reference Strain: ATCC 25175, NCTC10449
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Former Names or Synonyms:
Phylum: Firmicutes
16S rRNA Reference Sequences:    view in
RefSeq tree
RefSeq ID: 686_3965

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Genotypic Description:
Phenotypic Characteristics: Facultatively anaerobic Gram positive cocci (0.5 to 0.75 um in diameter) which occurs in pairs or short chains [4] Produces extracellular polysaccharides from sucrose by glucosyltransferase (e.g. glucans) and fructoosyltransferases (e.g. fructans). These polysaccharides promotes binding to cell surfaces. Glucose is fermented to L-lactic acid with no gas. Final pH in glucose broth cultures is 4.0 to 4.3. Growth is not inhibited by lower pH. Strains of S. mutans can be distinguished serologically. Peptidoglycan contains glutamic acid alanine lysine glucosamine adn muranmic acid [4]
Cultivability: Colonies are whitish about 0.5 to 1 mm that stick to the agar. When media is supplemented with sucrose puddles of liquid (e.g. soluble extracellular polysaccharide) surround the colonies.
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Microbial Ecology
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NCBI Taxon ID: 1309 [Link to NCBI]
PubMed Searches:
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[NCBI (Entrez) Nucleotide Link]
[NCBI (Entrez) Protein Link]
Number of
Genome Sequences:
385 See List
Phylogenetic Trees:
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[1] Hardie JM. Genus Streptococcus. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology 1986; Vol. 2, pp. 1043-1063.
[2] van Ruyven FO, Lingström P, van Houte J, Kent R. Relationship among mutans streptococci, 'low-pH' bacteria, and lodophilic polysaccharide-producing bacteria in dental plaque and early enamel caries in humans. J Dent Res.2000 Feb;79(2):778-84
[3] Nakano K, Inaba H, Nomura R, Nemoto H, Takeda M, Yoshioka H, Matsue H, Takahashi T, Taniguchi K, Amano A, Ooshima T. Detection of cariogenic Streptococcus mutans in extirpated heart valve and atheromatous plaque specimens. J Clin Microbiol.2006 Sep;44(9):3313-7
[4] Taubman MA, Nash DA. The scientific and public-health imperative for a vaccine against dental caries. Nat Rev Immunol.2006 Jul;6(7):555-63