Master of Engineering Science
Dr. Walter Siqueira
Saliva is responsible for the formation of the acquired enamel pellicle (AEP), a protein
integument formed as a result of selective adsorption of salivary proteins to the enamel
surface. The AEP demonstrates an important role for modulating dental erosion as a
result of its physical properties, along with its salivary and exogenous protein
composition (Chapter 2). In addition, individual proteins that comprise the AEP have
important physiological functions. Histatin 5 (H5) has potent antifungal effect against C.
albicans, the yeast responsible for the initiation of oral candidiasis. We designed an in
vitro model and found, for the first time, that H5 adhered in the form of pellicle retains its
antifungal activity on C. albicans (Chapter 3). As a pellicle precursor protein, H5
demonstrates high affinity for hydroxyapatite, the primary mineral component of enamel.
We used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to determine adhesion forces between H5 and
the hydroxyapatite surface to be stronger compared to our protein control, albumin. This
knowledge can be applied in the design of therapeutic proteins, and the methodology that
we developed can be used for measuring adhesion forces between various other proteins
and substrates of interest (Chapter 4). Finally, with the development of proteomics
instruments, researchers have identified some protein biomarkers, hidden within salivary
fluids. These can be used for diagnostic dentistry, in a clinical setting to identify patients’
susceptibility of developing oral diseases. In addition, the delivery proteins with
antimicrobial properties via toothpastes or oral rinses can have tremendous therapeutic
potential for a multitude of oral diseases (Chapter 5).
Vukosavljevic, Dusa, "Investigating the Therapeutic Potential of Salivary Proteins for Oral Diseases" (2012). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 1072.