Genetic Diversity and Evidence for Transmission of Streptococcus mutans by DiversiLab rep-PCR

Academic Article


  • This two-part study investigated the genetic diversity and transmission of Streptococcus mutans using the DiversiLab repetitive extragenic palindromic PCR (rep-PCR) approach. For children with S. mutans and participating household members, analysis for evidence of unrelated child-to-child as well as intra-familial transmission was evaluated based on commonality of genotypes. A total of 169 index children and 425 household family members from Uniontown, Alabama were evaluated for genetic diversity using rep-PCR. Thirty-four unique rep-PCR genotypes were observed for 13,906 S. mutans isolates. For transmission, 117 child and household isolates were evaluated for shared genotype (by child and by genotype cases, multiple matches possible for each child). Overall, children had 1–9 genotypes and those with multiple genotypes were 2.3 times more likely to have caries experience (decayed, missing and filled teeth/surfaces > 0). Only 28% of children shared all genotypes within the household, while 72% had at least 1 genotype not shared with anyone in the household. Children had genotype(s) not shared with any household members in 157 cases. In 158 cases children and household members shared a genotype in which 55% (87/158 cases) were shared with more than one family member. Children most frequently shared genotypes with their mothers (54%; 85/158), siblings (46%; 72/158) and cousins (23%; 37/158). A reference library for S. mutans for epidemiological surveillance using the DiversiLab rep-PCR approach is detailed. The genetic diversity of S. mutans in this population demonstrated frequent commonality of genotypes. Evidence for both child-to-child and intra-familial transmission of S. mutans was observed by rep-PCR.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Momeni SS; Whiddon J; Cheon K; Ghazal T; Moser SA; Childers NK
  • Start Page

  • 108
  • End Page

  • 117
  • Volume

  • 128