Understanding the Matrix: The Role of Extracellular DNA in Oral Biofilms

Hannah J Serrage*, Mark A Jepson, Nadia Rostami, Nicholas S. Jakubovics, Angela H Nobbs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
148 Downloads (Pure)


Dental plaque is the key etiological agent in caries formation and the development of the prevalent chronic oral inflammatory disease, periodontitis. The dental plaque biofilm comprises a diverse range of microbial species encased within a rich extracellular matrix, of which extracellular DNA (eDNA) has been identified as an important component. The molecular mechanisms of eDNA release and the structure of eDNA have yet to be fully characterized. Nonetheless, key functions that have been proposed for eDNA include maintaining biofilm structural integrity, initiating adhesion to dental surfaces, acting as a nutrient source, and facilitating horizontal gene transfer. Thus, eDNA is a potential therapeutic target for the management of oral disease–associated biofilm. This review aims to summarize advances in the understanding of the mechanisms of eDNA release from oral microorganisms and in the methods of eDNA detection and quantification within oral biofilms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number640129
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Oral Health
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the Matrix: The Role of Extracellular DNA in Oral Biofilms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this