Ponca City, We Love You writes: "The ability of Streptococcus mutans to survive in its own acidic waste is one reason that the species is the main driver of tooth decay worldwide. The bacteria's acid-resistance has several components including a bacterial enzyme called fatty acid biosynthase M (FabM), which when shut down, makes S. mutans 10,000 times more vulnerable to acid damage. A team led by Robert G. Quivey, Ph.D have genetically engineered a mutant form of S. mutans with the FabM gene removed and now the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is funding the team to create a catalogue of proteins that, along with FabM, can serve as targets for a multi-pronged attack on bacteria that tend to evolve around single-thrust treatments. "Our first goal is to force the major bacterium behind tooth decay to destroy itself with its own acid as soon as it eats sugar," says Quivey. "After that, this line of work could help lead to new anti-bacterial combination therapies for many infections that have become resistant to antibiotics.""