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Lin Zeng - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Lin Zeng

Associate Professor | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Lin Zeng studies carbohydrate metabolism in oral microbiomes with a focus on molecular genetics, biochemistry, and microbial ecology.


Lin Zeng's role includes teaching, service, and primarily, research. He views dental caries as a chronic condition caused by loss of microbial homeostasis where the outgrowth of a few acid-tolerant microbes induces tooth decay by fermenting excess sugars into organic acids. Zeng's interests include molecular mechanisms, proteins, and compounds that are required for pathogens to outcompete the commensals, and vice versa, all of which can be targeted for intervention with the purpose of restoring a healthy microbiome. One recent example is the research and potential application of N-acetylglucosamine as part of a pre-and pro-biotic strategy to inhibit the persistence of and synergism between Streptococcus mutans and yeast.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Gram-Positive Pathogens

Bacterial Gene Regulation

Carbohydrate Metabolism

Dental Caries

Oral Bacteriology

Microbial Ecology

Molecular Genetics

Oral Streptococci


Articles (3)

Genetic Characterization of Glyoxalase Pathway in Oral Streptococci and its Contribution to Interbacterial Competition


Lin Zeng, et. al


Substantial quantities of Reactive Electrophile Species (RES), including methylglyoxal and glyoxal, are generated by microbes and humans. To understand the impact of RES on oral microbial homeostasis, genetic analyses were performed on the glyoxalase pathway in Streptococcus mutans (SMU) and Streptococcus sanguinis (SSA). Loss of glyoxalase I (LguL), which catalyzes the rate-limiting reaction in RES degradation, reduced methylglyoxal and glyoxal tolerance to a far greater extent in SMU than in SSA, decreasing the competitiveness of SMU over SSA in planktonic cultures. MICs showed an overall greater RES tolerance by SMU than SSA; a finding consistent with the ability of methylglyoxal to induce the expression of lguL in SMU, but not in SSA.

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Glucose Phosphotransferase System Modulates Pyruvate Metabolism, Bacterial Fitness, and Microbial Ecology in Oral Streptococci

Journal of Bacteriology logo

Lin Zeng, et. al


Spontaneous mutants with defects in the primary glucose phosphotransferase permease (manLMNO) of Streptococcus sanguinis SK36 showed enhanced fitness at low pH. Transcriptomics and metabolomics with a manL deletion mutant (SK36/manL) revealed redirection of pyruvate to production of acetate and formate, rather than lactate. These observations were consistent with measurements of decreased lactic acid accumulation and increased excretion of acetate, formate, pyruvate, and H2O2.

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The Effect of Amino Sugars on the Composition and Metabolism of a Microcosm Biofilm and the Cariogenic Potential against Teeth and Dental Materials

Journal of Functional Biomaterials

Lin Zeng, et. al


Amino sugars N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) and glucosamine (GlcN) are abundant sources of carbon and nitrogen in the oral cavity. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of GlcNAc metabolism on the genomics and biochemistry of a saliva-derived microbial community, and on the surface integrity of human teeth and restorative surfaces. Pooled cell-containing saliva (CCS) was used to establish a microcosm biofilm in vitro in a biofilm medium (BM) containing 5 different carbohydrates.

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