Genome-genome interactions: bacterial communities in initial dental plaque

Trends Microbiol. 2005 Jan;13(1):11-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2004.11.005.


The usual context for genome-genome interactions is DNA-DNA interactions, but the manifestation of the genome is the cell. Here we focus on cell-cell interactions and relate them to the process of building multi-species biofilm communities. We propose that dental plaque communities originate as a result of intimate interactions between cells (genomes) of different species and not through clonal growth of genetically identical cells. Although DNA exchange might occur between cells within these communities, we limit our opinions to discussions of the spatiotemporal and metabolic relationships that exist here. We believe the multi-species interactions occurring during the early stages of biofilm formation determine the species composition and nature of the mature biofilm. The human oral cavity provides easy access to natural biofilms on a retrievable enamel chip, which is an excellent model for the study of genome-genome interactions.

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology*
  • Ecosystem
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Recombination, Genetic