Team:UT Dallas


     Cavities are primarily caused by the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, which creates a biofilm in the mouth over time. Within this biofilm, S. mutans digest certain mono and disaccharides, consequently forming lactic acid that can lead to tooth decay. Our goal is to detect the presence of the saccharides essential for S. mutans’ survival in the dextran biofilm and implement a system to decrease the population of S. mutans in the mouth, thereby preventing cavity formation. Our project works by taking advantage of the quorum sensing system in S. mutans and involves generating large amounts of Competence Stimulating Peptide to induce cell death. Working from within the dextran matrix to reduce harmful bacteria provides future possibilities, such as biofilm reduction, in this multifaceted approach to the problem of tooth decay.

     The goal of the 2013 University of Texas at Dallas IGEM team is to control the population of S. mutans in the mouth and prevent cavity formation using genetically engineered E. coli. Our techniques for cavity prevention will provide a novel way to selectively destroy the harmful bacteria. We hope that this could be applied as a method for cavity prevention first in animals and eventually in humans. Please check our 2 minute project overview video!