Title Autoinducer-2 detection among commensal oral streptococci is dependent on pH and boric acid
Author Giancarlo A. Cuadra1*, Ashley J. Frantellizzi2, Kimberly M. Gaesser2, Steven P. Tammariello2, and Anika Ahmed1
Address 1School of Math and Sciences, Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN, USA, 2Department of Biological Sciences, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, USA
Bibliography Journal of Microbiology, 54(7),492-502, 2016,
DOI 10.1007/s12275-016-5507-z
Key Words autoinducer-2, dental plaque, pH, streptococcus,detection, ecology
Abstract Autoinducer-2, considered a universal signaling molecule, is produced by many species of bacteria; including oral strains. Structurally, autoinducer-2 can exist bound to boron (borated autoinducer-2). Functionally, autoinducer-2 has been linked to important bacterial processes such as virulence and biofilm formation. In order to test production of autoinducer-2 by a given bacterial strain, a bioassay using marine bioluminescent bacteria Vibrio harveyi as a reporter for autoinducer-2 has been designed. We hypothesize that pH adjustment and addition of boron are required for optimal bioluminescence and accurate autoinducer-2 detection. Using this reporter strain we tested autoinducer-2 activity from two oral commensal species, Streptococcus gordonii DL1 and Streptococcus oralis 34. Spent broth was collected and adjusted to pH 7.5 and supplemented with boric acid prior to measuring autoinducer- 2 activity. Results show that low pH inhibits bioluminescence of the reporter strain, but pH 7.5 allows for bioluminescence induction and proper readings of autoinducer-2 activity. Addition of boric acid also has a positive effect on bioluminescence allowing for a more sensitive detection of autoinducer-2 activity. Our data suggests that although autoinducer- 2 is present in spent broth, low pH and/or low levels of boric acid become an obstacle for proper autoinducer-2 detection. For proper autoinducer-2 detection, we propose a protocol using this bioassay to include pH adjustment and boric acid addition to spent broth. Studies on autoinducer-2 activity in several bacteria species represent an important area of study as this universal signaling molecule is involved in critical bacterial phenotypes such as virulence and biofilm formation.