Bioinspired caries preventive strategy via customizable pellicles of saliva-derived protein/peptide constructs
Dental caries has been the most widespread chronic disease globally associated with significant health and financial burdens. Caries typically starts in the enamel, which is a unique tissue that cannot be healed or regrown; nonetheless, new preventive approaches have limitations and no effective care has developed yet. Since enamel is a non-renewable tissue, we believe that the intimate overlaying layer, the acquired enamel pellicle (AEP), plays a crucial lifetime protective role and could be employed to control bacterial adhesion and dental plaque succession. Based on our identified AEP whole proteome/peptidome, we investigated the bioinhibitory capacities of the native abundant proteins/peptides adsorbed in pellicle-mimicking conditions. Further, we designed novel hybrid constructs comprising antifouling and antimicrobial functional domains derived from statherin and histatin families, respectively, to attain synergistic preventive effects. Three novel constructs demonstrated significant multifaceted bio-inhibition compared to either the whole saliva and/or its native proteins/peptides via reducing biomass fouling and inducing biofilm dispersion beside triggering bacterial cell death. These data are valuable to bioengineer precision-guided enamel pellicles as an efficient and versatile prevention remedy. In conclusion, integrating complementary acting functional domains of salivary proteins/peptides is a novel translational approach to design multifunctional customizable enamel pellicles for caries prevention.