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Scientists Decode Genome of Oral Pathogen

ed Macrina.

The team reported that the genome of the gram-positive bacterium is a circular DNA molecule consisting of approximately 2.4 million base pairs. They analyzed the S. sanguinis genome and found that it was larger than other streptococci that have been sequenced. Some of this extra DNA was apparently adopted from another bacterium and encodes genes that may give S. sanguinis the ability to survive better in the face of good oral hygiene. If so, this could explain the recent emergence of S. sanguinis as an important pathogen.

"The sequence of the S. sanguinis genome gives us a comprehensive view of the biological potential of this important pathogen," said Gregory A. Buck, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity at VCU, who directed the sequencing and analysis. "This data opens a window into the inner workings of this bacterium. We now may be able to determine how and why these organisms cause disease."

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