Bacterial Cell Wall Glycopolymers Affect Polymer Chain Alignment and Mechanics of Streptococcus mutans

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Antibiotic resistance is the phenomenon in which bacteria is or becomes resistant to antibiotics. As it pertains to oral bacteria, current methods for elimination of their presence and reduction of infection is through mechanical means, such as brushing, flossing, or swishing with an alcoholic rinse. These methods loosen the bacteria from oral surfaces or attack bacteria through cell disruption by protein denaturation and lipid membrane dissolution. One strain of oral bacteria that can cause plaque accumulation, chewing difficulty, impaired speech, and dental caries is Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans). S. mutans is a group of Gram-positive, facultatively anaerobic, cocci bacteria that can contribute to a multitude of oral hygiene concerns, including loss of dental implants in cases of high concentration. Research suggests that modification of the cell wall may lead to new developments on how to regulate cell permeation, thereby, regulation of microbial resistance mechanisms. In this work, three S. mutans stains with altered peptidoglycan layers are studied through atomic force and confocal microscopy. Surface roughness differences due to molecular glycerol phosphate alterations are quantified and compared at two positions: near the pole of the cell and within the septal region. We show AFM images of bacteria scans, including the cell wall, and quantitative surface roughness measurements at the two difference regions for each strain investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMechanics of Biological Systems and Materials and Micro-and Nanomechanics and Research Applications - Proceedings of the 2020 Annual Conference on Experimental and Applied Mechanics
EditorsJacob Notbohm, Christian Franck, Nikhil Karanjgaokar, Frank W. DelRio
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2021
EventSEM Annual Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics, 2020 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Sep 14 2020Sep 17 2020

Publication series

NameConference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series
ISSN (Print)2191-5644
ISSN (Electronic)2191-5652


ConferenceSEM Annual Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics, 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at UK for use of bacterial culture equipment and materials. Atomic force and confocal microscopy were carried out in the UK Light Microscopy Core user facility. The facility provides access to and expertise in a wide range of advanced imaging instrumentation that include confocal, multiphoton, and super resolution microscopes.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2021.


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Bacteria
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Streptococcus mutans
  • Surface roughness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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