Fighting biofilms of Streptococci by a novel inhibitor: from bench to dental products

Antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective due to bacterial resistance. Moreover, they fail to work for infections caused by bacteria living in biofilms. Finally, since they target conserved mechanisms of bacterial growth, they affect a large fraction of the human microbiome, causing severe side effects.

The cooperative project e:biofilm aims at developing a new antibacterial drug that is effective against biofilms and differs from classical antibiotics in its mode of action. Carolacton, a secondary metabolite produced by the soil bacterium Sorangium cellulosum, has been demonstrated in the previous MedSys program to interfere with a central signaling mechanism in the caries bacterium Streptococcus mutans. Carolacton was incorporated into dental filling material and inhibited biofilm formation of S. mutans on these materials. The systems biology approach will be used to develop the biofilm inhibitor carolacton (1) towards dental products (e.g. tooth fillings) and (2) to transfer the understanding of its action from Streptococcus mutans towards the genus Streptococcus in general.

The cooperative project e:biofilm is coordinated by Prof. Wagner-Döbler at the HZI. The following institutions are participating:

HIPS Saarbrücken (Prof. Rolf Müller)

Technical University Braunschweig (Prof. Stefan Schulz)

University Hospital Aachen (Prof. Georg Conrads, Prof. Christian Apel)

Technical University Hamburg-Harburg (Prof. An-Ping Zeng)

Technical University München (Prof. Andreas Kremling)



Beteiligte Gruppen


Prof. Wagner-Döbler

Geldgeber / Förderer

BMBF - Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung