Glycoconjugate Journal

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 53–64 | Cite as

Investigating the candidacy of the serotype specific rhamnan polysaccharide based glycoconjugates to prevent disease caused by the dental pathogen Streptococcus mutans

  • Frank St. Michael
  • Qingling Yang
  • Chantelle Cairns
  • Evgeny Vinogradov
  • Perry Fleming
  • Alexander C. Hayes
  • Annie Aubry
  • Andrew D. Cox
Original Article


Dental caries remains a major health issue and the Gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus mutans is considered as the major pathogen causing caries. More recently, S. mutans has been recognised as a cause of endocarditis, ulcerative colitis and fatty acid liver disease along with the likelihood of increased cerebral hemorrhage following a stroke if S. mutans is present systemically. We initiated this study to examine the vaccine candidacy of the serotype specific polysaccharides elaborated by S. mutans. We have confirmed the carbohydrate structures for the serotype specific rhamnan containing polysaccharides from serotypes c, f and k. We have prepared glycoconjugate vaccines using the rhamnan containing polymers from serotypes f and k and immunised mice and rabbits. We consistently obtained a robust immune response to the glycoconjugates with cross-reactivity consistent with the structural similarities of the polymers from the different serotypes. We developed an opsonophagocytic assay which illustrated the ability of the post-immune sera to facilitate opsonophagocytic killing of the homologous and heterologous serotypes at titers consistent with the structural homologies. We conclude that glycoconjugates of the rhamnan polymers of S. mutans are a potential vaccine candidate to target dental caries and other sequelae following the escape of S. mutans from the oral cavity.


Streptococcus Mutans Conjugate vaccine Serotype polysaccharide Rhamnan 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. All animal care and accompanying procedures were in accordance with the guidelines and policies of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). The study was approved by the Human Health Therapeutics’ Animal Care Committee which is certified by the CCAC.

Supplementary material

10719_2017_9798_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (61 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 a. 1H–NMR spectrum for the glucorhamnan and rhamnan repeating units from Streptococcus mutans serotype c strain 10499. b. 1H–NMR spectrum for the glucorhamnan and rhamnan repeating units from Streptococcus mutans serotype f strain OMZ175. c. 1H–NMR spectrum for the galactorhamnan and rhamnan repeating units from Streptococcus mutans serotype z strain OM42X. (PDF 61 kb)


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vaccine Program, Human Health Therapeutics PortfolioNational Research CouncilOttawaCanada

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