In order to clarify the role that sortase (SrtA) plays in anchoring dextranase (Dex) to the cell wall of Streptococcus mutans, both Dex- and SrtA- mutants were constructed by insertional inactivation of the respective genes. Western blot analysis with a Dex antiserum showed that in the srtA mutant the Dex was not bound to the cell wall but was secreted into the culture supernatant. In contrast, in the wild type, Dex remained cell-wall-associated. Biological properties of the srtA mutant were examined in dextran fermentation, colony morphology and adherence to a smooth surface. The srtA mutant, as well as the wild type, retained the ability to ferment dextran. However, the colony morphology of the srtA mutant on Todd Hewitt agar containing sucrose was much larger than that of the wild type and showed a ring-like structure. In addition, the srtA mutant was more adhesive to a smooth surface than the wild type when sucrose was present. However, the adhesion of the srtA mutant remarkably decreased by addition of exogenous dextranase. These studies suggest that the SrtA mediates Dex-anchoring to the cell wall in S. mutans, and cell wall-anchored Dex plays a role in controlling both the adhesive properties of extracellular glucan and the ability to utilize extracellular glucan as a nutrient source. In contrast, extracellular Dex is only responsible for degrading extracellular glucan as a nutrient source.