A pinboard by
Pooja Balani

Postdoctoral Researcher, HSDM / The Forsyth Institute


What if you could pop a pill and never worry about gum disease and bad breath?

Periodonitits and Gum disease are a major problem in about 40% of the population in the United States. These diseases once established are very hard to get rid of due to a high rate or antibiotic resistance in the disease causing organisms and many other poorly understood mechanisms. Previous research has shown that a subset of oral commensal bacteria (good bacteria that normally live in your oral cavity) when present in high numbers are able to ward off these bad critters or atleast keep them at bay. My research aims to harness this capability of commensal bacteria and use them as probiotics to prevent these diseases and understand the mechanism by which they do that. My data so far has shown several bacteria form healthy oral cavities that are able to prevent a periodontal pathogen that when causes disease can lead to bone and gum loss and is also associated with some types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and endocarditis.

The Natural products gordon research conference has leading experts from the field of natural drug discovery attending. The format of the conference allows for open discussion and one on one interaction with these scientists. It will be tremendously helpful to my current as well as future research to get insight and ideas from the leaders in the field.


Targeting of Streptococcus mutans Biofilms by a Novel Small Molecule Prevents Dental Caries and Preserves the Oral Microbiome.

Abstract: Dental caries is a costly and prevalent disease characterized by the demineralization of the tooth's enamel. Disease outcome is influenced by host factors, dietary intake, cariogenic bacteria, and other microbes. The cariogenic bacterial species Streptococcus mutans metabolizes sucrose to initiate biofilm formation on the tooth surface and consequently produces lactic acid to degrade the tooth's enamel. Persistence of S. mutans biofilms in the oral cavity can lead to tooth decay. To date, no anticaries therapies that specifically target S. mutans biofilms but do not disturb the overall oral microbiome are available. We screened a library of 2-aminoimidazole antibiofilm compounds with a biofilm dispersion assay and identified a small molecule that specifically targets S. mutans biofilms. At 5 µM, the small molecule annotated 3F1 dispersed 50% of the established S. mutans biofilm but did not disperse biofilms formed by the commensal species Streptococcus sanguinis or Streptococcus gordonii. 3F1 dispersed S. mutans biofilms independently of biofilm-related factors such as antigen I/II and glucosyltransferases. 3F1 treatment effectively prevented dental caries by controlling S. mutans in a rat caries model without perturbing the oral microbiota. Our study demonstrates that selective targeting of S. mutans biofilms by 3F1 was able to effectively reduce dental caries in vivo without affecting the overall oral microbiota shaped by the intake of dietary sugars, suggesting that the pathogenic biofilm-specific treatment is a viable strategy for disease prevention.

Pub.: 03 Jun '17, Pinned: 29 Jun '17