Saliva Microbiota Carry Caries-Specific Functional Gene Signatures

>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.

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