Supragingival mycobiome and inter-kingdom interactions in dental caries

J Oral Microbiol. 2020 Feb 19;12(1):1729305. doi: 10.1080/20002297.2020.1729305. eCollection 2020.


Background: Recent studies have reveled the presence of a complex fungal community (mycobiome) in the oral cavity. However, the role of oral mycobiome in dental caries and its interaction with caries-associated bacteria is not yet clear. Methods: Whole-mouth supragingival plaque samples from 30 children (6-10 years old) with no caries, early caries, or advanced caries were sequenced for internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS-2). The mycobiome profiles were correlated with previously published bacteriome counterparts. Interaction among selected fungal and bacterial species was assessed by co-culture or spent media experiments. Results: Fungal load was extremely low. Candida, Malassezia, Cryptococcus, and Trichoderma spp. were the most prevalent/abundant taxa. Advanced caries was associated with significantly higher fungal load and prevalence/abundance of Candida albicans. Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida sake were significantly over-abundant in early caries, while Malassezia globosa was significantly enriched in caries-free subjects. C. albicans correlated with Streptococcus mutans and Scardovia wiggsiae among other caries-associated bacteria, while M. globosa inversely correlated with caries-associated bacteria. In-vitro, M. globosa demonstrated inhibitory properties against S. mutans. Conclusions: the results substantiate the potential role of the oral mycobiome, primarily Candida species, in dental caries. Inter-kingdom correlations and inhibition of S. mutans by M. globosa are worth further investigation.

Keywords: Bacteria; dental caries; dental plaque; high-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing; mycobiome.