The cariogenic bacterium Streptococcus mutans has two paralogues of the YidC/Oxa1/Alb3 family of membrane protein insertases/chaperones. Disruption of yidC2 results in loss of genetic competence, decreased membrane-associated ATPase activity and stress sensitivity (acid, osmotic and oxidative). Elimination of yidC1 has less severe effects, with little observable effect on growth or stress sensitivity. To examine the respective roles of YidC1 and YidC2, a conditional expression system was developed allowing simultaneous elimination of both endogenous YidCs. The function of the YidC C-terminal tails was also investigated and a chimeric YidC1 protein appended with the C terminus of YidC2 enabled YidC1 to complement a ΔyidC2 mutant for stress tolerance, ATP hydrolysis activity and extracellular glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) activity. Elimination of yidC1 or yidC2 affected levels of extracellular proteins, including GtfB, GtfC and adhesin P1 (AgI/II, PAc), which were increased without YidC1 but decreased in the absence of YidC2. Both yidC1 and yidC2 were shown to contribute to S. mutans biofilm formation and to cariogenicity in a rat model. Collectively, these results provide evidence that YidC1 and YidC2 contribute to cell surface biogenesis and protein secretion in S. mutans and that differences in stress sensitivity between the ΔyidC1 and ΔyidC2 mutants stem from a functional difference in the C-termini of these two proteins. © 2012 SGM.