Survey of oral microbial diversity using PCR-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis

Y. Li, C. Y.S. Ku, J. Xu, D. Saxena, P. W. Caufield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polymicrobial biofilms in the human oral cavity exhibit marked diversity. PCR-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) surveys microbial diversity by displaying PCR-generated 16S rDNA fragments that migrate at different distances, reflecting the differences in the base-pair (i.e., % G+C) composition of the fragment. This study examined DGGE-generated diversity profiles of cultivable bacteria from individuals with different caries status. Initially, we developed a set of PCR-DGGE running conditions appropriate to oral bacteria. Next, we assessed migration standards from known oral bacterial reference strains. To test the methods, we profiled 20 bacterial saliva samples cultivated from young adults. The study produced a battery of species-specific 16S rDNA amplicons that could be used as a migration distance standard necessary for computer-assisted profile analysis. From the clinical samples, we found a significantly greater diversity of oral microbes in caries-free individuals compared with caries-active individuals (P = 0.01). These findings suggest that a portion of oral microbiota of caries-active individuals may be absent, suppressed, or replaced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-564
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • 16S rDNA
  • Dental caries
  • Microbial diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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