A1 Journal article – refereed
Generation of bioluminescent Streptococcus mutans and its usage in rapid analysis of the efficacy of antimicrobial compounds

List of Authors: Loimaranta V, Tenovuo J, Koivisto L, Karp M
Publication year: 1998
Journal: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Journal name in source: Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Journal acronym: Antimicrob Agents Chemother
Volume number: 42
Issue number: 8
ISSN: 0066-4804

The oral bacterium Streptococcus mutans was transformed by electroporation with a shuttle vector (pCSS945) containing insect luciferase gene from a click beetle (Pyrophorus plagiophthalamus) resulting in a bioluminescent phenotype. This S. mutans strain was used in experiments in which light emission was used as a rapid and, compared to conventional CFU counting, more convenient means of estimating the effects of various antimicrobial treatments. The basic parameters affecting in vivo light production by the strain were studied. It was found that pH 6.0 was optimal for incorporation of the substrate D-luciferin for the luciferase reaction. The optimum concentration of D-luciferin was approximately 150 microM at room temperature. Under optimum conditions the light emission in vivo increased rapidly to a constant level and thereafter had a decay of 0.6%/min when logarithmic-growth-phase cells were used. The light emission closely paralleled the numbers of CFU, giving a detectable signal from 30,000 cells and having a dynamic measurement range over 4 log CFU/relative light unit. The cells were treated with various antimicrobial agents, and the emitted bioluminescence was measured. With the bioluminescent measurements, the results were obtained within hours compared to the days required for agar plates, and also, the kinetics of the antibacterial actions could be followed. Thus, the light emission was found to be a reliable, sensitive, and real-time indicator of the bacteriostatic actions of the antimicrobial agents tested.

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