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Candida albicans has been detected in root carious lesions. The current study aimed to explore the action of this fungal species on the microbial ecology and the pathogenesis of root caries. Here, by analyzing C. albicans in supragingival dental plaque collected from root carious lesions and sound root surfaces of root-caries subjects as well as caries-free individuals, we observed significantly increased colonization of C. albicans in root carious lesions. Further in vitro and animal studies showed that C. albicans colonization increased the cariogenicity of oral biofilm by altering its microbial ecology, leading to a polymicrobial biofilm with enhanced acidogenicity, and consequently exacerbated tooth demineralization and carious lesion severity. More importantly, we demonstrated that the cariogenicity-promoting activity of C. albicans was dependent on PHR2. Deletion of PHR2 restored microbial equilibrium and led to a less cariogenic biofilm as demonstrated by in vitro artificial caries model or in vivo root-caries rat model. Our data indicate the critical role of C. albicans infection in the occurrence of root caries. PHR2 is the major factor that determines the ecological impact and caries-promoting activity of C. albicans in a mixed microbial consortium.


Qian Du, Biao Ren, Jinzhi He, Xian Peng, Qiang Guo, Liwei Zheng, Jiyao Li, Huanqin Dai, Vivian Chen, Lixin Zhang, Xuedong Zhou, Xin Xu. Candida albicans promotes tooth decay by inducing oral microbial dysbiosis. The ISME journal. 2021 Mar;15(3):894-908

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PMID: 33149208

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