Scientists using Diamond Light Source have made a breakthrough in the battle against tooth decay, with research published in the leading Journal of Molecular Biology (JMB) on 29 April 2011.
“With the use of the Diamond synchrotron and the Photon Factory we have been able to solve not only the structure of the enzyme alone but also its structure when bound to an existing inhibitor. Several inhibitors that prevent this type of enzyme forming glucan have been identified but to date there has been little structural information available. With the data we collected at Diamond and the Photon Factory, we now have a better understanding of how the enzyme functions and how it can be stopped. This structural information should be useful in the design of novel inhibitors that will prevent the biofilm formation by glucansucrases and reduce the risk of possible side effects such as hypoglycaemia. These novel inhibitors could be incorporated into toothpaste and mouthwash, making them more effective at preventing tooth decay.”
Sohei Ito, Laboratory of Food Protein Engineering, University of Shizuoka in Japan, and lead researcher on the project
‘Crystal Structure of Glucansucrase from the Dental Caries Pathogen Streptococcus mutans’
Keisuke Ito, Sohei Ito, Tatsuro Shimamura, Simone Weyand, Yasuaki Kawarasaki, Takumi Misaka, Keiko Abe, Takuya Kobayashi, Alexander D. Cameron and So Iwata.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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