Glucan binding protein C of Streptococcus mutans mediates both sucrose-independent and sucrose-dependent adherence

Academic Article


  • The high-resolution structure of glucan binding protein C (GbpC) at 1.14 Å, a sucrose-dependent virulence factor of the dental caries pathogen Streptococcus mutans, has been determined. GbpC shares not only structural similarities with the V regions of AgI/II and SspB but also functional adherence to salivary agglutinin (SAG) and its scavenger receptor cysteine-rich domains (SRCRs). This is not only a newly identified function for GbpC but also an additional fail-safe binding mechanism for S. mutans. Despite the structural similarities with S. mutans antigen I/II (AgI/II) and SspB of Streptococcus gordonii, GbpC remains unique among these surface proteins in its propensity to adhere to dextran/glucans. The complex crystal structure of GbpC with dextrose (β-D-glucose; Protein Data Bank ligand BGC) highlights exclusive structural features that facilitate this interaction with dextran. Targeted deletion mutant studies on GbpC's divergent loop region in the vicinity of a highly conserved calcium binding site confirm its role in biofilm formation. Finally, we present a model for adherence to dextran. The structure of GbpC highlights how artfully microbes have engineered the lectin-like folds to broaden their functional adherence repertoire.
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    Author List

  • Mieher JL; Larson MR; Schormann N; Purushotham S; Wu R; Rajashankar KR; Wu H; Deivanayagam C
  • Volume

  • 86
  • Issue

  • 7