Lin Zeng

Research Assistant Professorzeng

Department of Oral Biology
1395 Center Drive, D5-27
Box 100424
Gainesville, FL 32610-0424
Phone: 352-273-8868


  • Ph.D., University of Florida, Microbiology and Immunology, 2004;
  • M.Sc., Nankai University, Microbiology, Tianjin, China, 1998;
  • B.Sc., Nankai University, Microbiology, Tianjin, China, 1995.


Research Interest:


Carbohydrates in the human diet, and those provided by host secretions, host cells and microorganisms support and affect the complexity of many bacterial taxa that colonize human tooth surface. The main focus of my research is on the ability of oral bacteria to utilize a variety of carbohydrates for survival and virulence development, and the molecular mechanisms involved in these processes.

A recent development in our research effort has been the discovery of a regulatory system likely unique to a group of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), represented by the model organism Streptococcus mutans, which controls the biosynthesis of an essential cellular compound glucosamine-6-phosphate as well as its degradation for energy production. We have demonstrated the ability of a transcription regulator NagR to directly regulate expression of genes involved in both catabolism (nagA and nagB) and anabolism (glmS) of amino sugars (including glucosamine and N-acetylglucosamine), and begun to understand some of the molecular mechanisms required for differential regulation, in particular the roles played by certain metabolic intermediates. From bacterial-ecology standpoint, we are particularly interested in understanding the metabolism of amino sugars by various oral bacterial species and its influence on homeostasis of oral microbiome.


Recent Publications:


  • Zeng L, Burne RA. NagR differentially regulates the expression of the glmS and nagAB genes required for amino sugar metabolism by Streptococcus mutans. J Bacteriol. 2015; (epub ahead of print).


  • Moye ZD, Zeng L, Burne RA. Fueling the caries process: carbohydrate metabolism and gene regulation by Streptococcus mutans. J Oral Microbiol. 2014; 6:24878-92.


  • Moye ZD, Burne RA, Zeng L. Uptake and metabolism of N-acetylglucosamine and glucosamine by Streptococcus mutans. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014; 80(16):5053-67.


  • Moye ZD, Zeng L, Burne RA. Modification of gene expression and virulence traits in Streptococcus mutans in response to carbohydrate availability. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013; 80(3):972-85.


  • Zeng L, Choi SC, Danko CG, Siepel A, Stanhope MJ, Burne RA. Gene regulation by CcpA and catabolite repression explored by RNA-Seq in Streptococcus mutans. PLoS ONE. 2013; 8(3):e60465.


  • Zeng L, Burne RA. Comprehensive mutational analysis of sucrose-metabolizing pathways in Streptococcus mutans reveals novel roles for the sucrose PTS permease. J Bacteriol. 2013; 195(4):833-43.