Saliva microbiota carry caries-specific functional gene signatures

PLoS One. 2014 Feb 12;9(2):e76458. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076458. eCollection 2014.


Human saliva microbiota is phylogenetically divergent among host individuals yet their roles in health and disease are poorly appreciated. We employed a microbial functional gene microarray, HuMiChip 1.0, to reconstruct the global functional profiles of human saliva microbiota from ten healthy and ten caries-active adults. Saliva microbiota in the pilot population featured a vast diversity of functional genes. No significant distinction in gene number or diversity indices was observed between healthy and caries-active microbiota. However, co-presence network analysis of functional genes revealed that caries-active microbiota was more divergent in non-core genes than healthy microbiota, despite both groups exhibited a similar degree of conservation at their respective core genes. Furthermore, functional gene structure of saliva microbiota could potentially distinguish caries-active patients from healthy hosts. Microbial functions such as Diaminopimelate epimerase, Prephenate dehydrogenase, Pyruvate-formate lyase and N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase were significantly linked to caries. Therefore, saliva microbiota carried disease-associated functional signatures, which could be potentially exploited for caries diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dental Caries / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiota / genetics*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pilot Projects
  • Saliva / microbiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This work was supported in part by grants 2011IM030100 and 2009AA02Z310 from Ministry of Science and Technology of China, grants 31271410 and 31300424 from National Science Foundation of China, and grants 2011-WSZD029, KJZD-12-16-nsh and VII2013W002 from Qingdao. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript