In situ and non-invasive detection of specific bacterial species in oral biofilms using fluorescently labeled monoclonal antibodies. Academic Article uri icon


  • Noninvasive in situ detection of suspected cariogenic bacterial species within dental biofilms could facilitate monitoring of the dynamic change of oral microbial flora and assist in the assessment of the treatment efficacy of therapeutic agents. In this study, we explore the possibility to use three well-characterized monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against Streptococcus mutans, Actinomyces naeslundii, and Lactobacillus casei to identify these three important members of the oral microbial community in the complex environment of oral biofilms. These MAbs, which were conjugated to different fluorescent labels and visualized with confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), proved to be an useful tool to identify the three species of interest (S. mutans, A. naeslundii, and L. casei) under various experimental conditions including in vitro and in vivo derived oral biofilms. Manifold addition of the MAbs on consecutive days did not alter the biofilm structure thus allowing monitoring of the same biofilm over extended time periods. Using this MAb-based method the effect of sucrose challenge on the biofilm composition and the distribution of S. mutans, A. naeslundii, and L. casei were examined. S. mutans was found to be the predominant species under the various biofilm conditions tested. These studies indicate that MAbs based bacterial detection with CLSM is a versatile tool which permits new insights into the ecology of oral biofilm development.

published proceedings

  • J Microbiol Methods

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Gu, Fang||Lux, Renate||Du-Thumm, Laurence||Stokes, Ivy||Kreth, Jens||Anderson, Maxwell H||Wong, David T||Wolinsky, Lawrence||Sullivan, Richard||Shi, Wenyuan

publication date

  • August 2005