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1.  Communication: Antimicrobial Activity of SMAP28 with a Targeting Domain for Porphyromonas gingivalis 
Antibiotic therapy is often used with mechanical therapy to treat periodontal disease. However, complications associated with antibiotic use can occur. A ‘bacteria-specific’ targeted approach would eliminate some of these complications and kill specific periodontopathogens without harming the commensal bacteria. One such approach is to couple antimicrobial peptides to a ligand, pheromone, or antibody specific for the periodontopathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis. To assess the feasibility of this approach, we attached PQGPPQ, a peptide from proline-rich protein 1 to either the N-terminus of SMAP28 (peptide ZS37-37) or the C-terminus of SMAP28 (peptide ZS37-38) to see whether it has potential as a carrier ligand to deliver SMAP28 to the surface of P. gingivalis. For Escherichia coli and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, the median minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of ZS37-37 was higher than the median of SMAP28 alone, although the median MIC of ZS37-38 was lower than that of SMAP28 alone. For P. gingivalis, there was no difference in the median MIC values. For S. aureus, the median MIC was higher for ZS37-37 and ZS37-38 compared to SMAP28 alone, particularly for ZS37-38. For Fusobacterium nucleatum, the median MIC values were equal for ZS37-37 and ZS37-38 and higher than the median MIC for SMAP28 alone. Attaching PQGPPQ to SMAP28 did not greatly increase the antimicrobial activity of ZS37-37 or ZS37-38 for P. gingivalis nor substantially decrease the antimicrobial activity of ZS37-37 or ZS37-38 for the four other microorganisms tested. This is an initial step to develop a selective antimicrobial agent that has ‘targeted’ antimicrobial activity without adverse reactions often associated with the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
doi:10.1007/s12602-009-9028-5
PMCID: PMC2863077  PMID: 20454638
Porphyromonas gingivalis; SMAP28; Periodontal disease; Targeted antimicrobial activity
2.  Role for Fimbriae and Lysine-Specific Cysteine Proteinase Gingipain K in Expression of Interleukin-8 and Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein in Porphyromonas gingivalis-Infected Endothelial Cells  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(1):268-276.
Recent cross-sectional and prospective epidemiological studies have demonstrated an association between periodontal disease and atherosclerosis and human coronary heart disease. Previously, we have established that the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis is capable of invading aortic, heart, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Since atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory response initiated at the vascular wall, interactions of P. gingivalis with endothelial cells and the subsequent host cell response to infection may be important in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. In this study we examined the consequences of P. gingivalis infection of HUVEC on the expression of the chemokines interleukin-8 (IL-8) and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1). HUVEC were found to constitutively produce low levels of IL-8 and MCP-1. The addition of P. gingivalis fimbrillin-specific peptides, lipopolysaccharides (LPS), or heat-killed whole cell preparations to HUVEC stimulated modest IL-8 and MCP-1 responses. In contrast, coculture of HUVEC with live P. gingivalis strain A7436, 33277, or 381 abolished the IL-8 and MCP-1 responses. Inhibition of IL-8 and MCP-1 production was not dependent on bacterial adherence since similar results were obtained with the nonadherent P. gingivalis fimA mutant DPG3 or when P. gingivalis was preincubated with fimbrillin peptide antisera prior to the addition to HUVEC. Furthermore, treatment of P. gingivalis-infected HUVEC with cytochalsin D, which prevented P. gingivalis invasion, also abolished the constitutive IL-8 and MCP-1 responses. Treatment of HUVEC with E. coli LPS stimulated robust IL-8 and MCP-1 responses that were abolished when stimulated cells were cocultured with live P. gingivalis. Analysis of P. gingivalis-infected HUVEC cultures by an RNase protection assay revealed an increase in the IL-8 transcript relative to uninfected HUVEC. Pretreatment of P. gingivalis with protease inhibitors prior to the addition to HUVEC prevented the inhibition of IL-8 and MCP-1 production in P. gingivalis-infected HUVEC, indicating that the inhibition was proteolytically mediated. Coculture of HUVEC with a P. gingivalis mutant deficient in lysine-specific cysteine proteinase (gingipain K [Kgp]) resulted in an increase in both IL-8 transcription and protein expression relative to that observed in HUVEC cocultured with the P. gingivalis wild-type strain. These results indicate that P. gingivalis can temporally modulate the chemokine response in endothelial cells through both fimbriae and gingipain-mediated mechanisms.
doi:10.1128/IAI.70.1.268-276.2002
PMCID: PMC127609  PMID: 11748192
3.  An in-vitro evaluation of the efficacy of garlic extract as an antimicrobial agent on periodontal pathogens: A microbiological study 
Ayu  2013;34(4):445-451.
With the rise in bacterial resistance to antibiotics, there is considerable interest in the development of other classes of antimicrobials for the control of infection. Garlic (Allium sativum Linn.) has been used as medicine since ancient times and has long been known to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. This study was undertaken to assess the inhibitory effect of garlic on Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, to assess the time-kill curve of P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans, and to determine the antiproteolytic activity of garlic on P. gingivalis. Ethanolic garlic extract (EGE) and aqueous garlic extract (AGE) were prepared and the inhibitory effects of these extracts for two periodontal pathogens (P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans) were tested. Antiproteolytic activity on protease of P. gingivalis was determined. 25 microliter (μl), 50 μl, and 75 μl of AGE showed 16 mm, 20 mm, and 25 mm zone of inhibition, respectively, on P. gingivalis. The AGE showed greater bacteriostatic activity against the P. gingivalis with minimum inhibitory concentration determined at 16.6 μl/ml. The time-kill assay of AGE and EGE were compared for P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans. AGE showed better antiproteolytic activity on total protease of P. gingivalis compared to the EGE. Thus, the study concludes the antimicrobial activity of garlic extract against periodontal pathogens, P. gingivalis, A. actinomycetemcomitans. Its action against P. gingivalis includes inhibition of total protease activity, and this raises the possibility that garlic may have therapeutic use for periodontitis and possibly other oral infections.
doi:10.4103/0974-8520.127732
PMCID: PMC3968712  PMID: 24695825
Aggregatibacter Actinomycetemcomitans; antimicrobial; garlic; Porphyromonas gingivalis
4.  A Peptide Domain on Gingipain R Which Confers Immunity against Porphyromonas gingivalis Infection in Mice 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(9):4108-4114.
The cysteine proteinases referred to as gingipains R (gingipain R1 and gingipain R2) and gingipain K produced by Porphyromonas gingivalis are virulence factors of this periodontal pathogen which likely act by interrupting host defense mechanisms and by participating in the penetration and destruction of host connective tissue. To examine the effect of immunization with gingipains R on the ability of P. gingivalis to colonize and invade in the mouse chamber model, BALB/c mice were immunized intraperitoneally with the 95-kDa gingipain R1, the 50-kDa gingipain R2, or multiple antigenic peptide (MAP)-conjugated gingipain R-derived peptides and then challenged with P. gingivalis. Immunization of mice with the 95-kDa gingipain R1, the 50-kDa gingipain R2, or a peptide derived from the N-terminal sequence of the catalytic domain of gingipains R (peptide A) followed by challenge with P. gingivalis A7436 resulted in protection from P. gingivalis invasion. In contrast, immunization with peptides corresponding to either a sequence encompassing the catalytic cysteine residue of gingipains R (peptide B) or an identical sequence within the catalytic domains of gingipain R1 and gingipain K (peptide C), followed by challenge with P. gingivalis, did not protect animals, nor did immunization with a peptide corresponding to sequences within the adhesion/hemagglutinin domain of gingipain R1 (peptide D) which have been shown to be directly involved in the hemagglutinin activity of gingipain R1. However, the immunoglobulin G (IgG) titer obtained following immunization with peptide D was comparable to that obtained following immunization with the N-terminal peptide (peptide A). Competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, using either the 95-kDa gingipain R1 or gingipain K as the competing soluble antigen, indicated that 42 and 53% of the antibodies induced by immunization with heat-killed bacteria recognize gingipain R1 and gingipain K, respectively; however, even at very high concentrations, the 50-kDa gingipain R2 did not hinder IgG binding to P. gingivalis. These results indicate that antibodies directed to the amino-terminal region of the catalytic domain of gingipains R are capable of inducing a protective immune response against P. gingivalis infection in the mouse chamber model.
PMCID: PMC108493  PMID: 9712755
5.  Differential effects of periopathogens on host protease inhibitors SLPI, elafin, SCCA1, and SCCA2 
Journal of Oral Microbiology  2010;2:10.3402/jom.v2i0.5070.
Objective
Secretory leukocyte peptidase inhibitors (SLPI), elafin, squamous cell carcinoma antigen 1 and 2 (SCCA1 and SCCA2) are specific endogenous serine protease inhibitors expressed by epithelial cells that prevent tissue damage from excessive proteolytic enzyme activity due to inflammation. To determine the effects of various periopathogens on these protease inhibitors, we utilized human gingival epithelial cells (GECs) challenged with cell-free bacteria supernatants of various periopathogens Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, and Fusobacterium nucleatum.
Design
The gene expression and secretion of SLPI, elafin, SCCA1, and SCCA2 were determined using real-time PCR and ELISA, respectively. The direct effects of periopathogens and P. gingivalis gingipain mutants on these inhibitors were examined in vitro by Western Blot. The effect on the innate immune response of GECs was measured by expression of antimicrobial peptides: human beta-defenisin-2 (hBD2) and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 20 (CCL20).
Results
We found that SLPI, SCCA2, elafin, hBD2, and CCL20 gene expression levels were significantly induced (p<0.001) in response to P. gingivalis, whose virulence factors include cysteine proteases, but not in response to stimulation by other bacteria. P. gingivalis reduced the secretion of SLPI and elafin significantly in GECs, and degraded recombinant SLPI, elafin, SCCA1, and SCCA2. Differential degradation patterns of SLPI, elafin, SCCA1, and SCCA2 were observed with different bacteria as well as P. gingivalis mutants associated with the loss of specific gingipains secreted by P. gingivalis. In addition, pretreatment of GECs with SLPI, SCCA1, or SCCA2 partially blocked hBD2 and CCL20 mRNA expression in response to P. gingivalis, suggesting a protective effect.
Conclusion
Our results suggest that different periopathogens affect the host protease inhibitors in a different manner, suggesting host susceptibility may differ in the presence of these pathogens. The balance between cellular protease inhibitors and their degradation may be an important factor in susceptibility to periodontal infection.
doi:10.3402/jom.v2i0.5070
PMCID: PMC3084571  PMID: 21523231
gingival epithelial cells; host defense; periopathogen; protease inhibitor
6.  Resistance of Porphyromonas gingivalis ATCC 33277 to Direct Killing by Antimicrobial Peptides Is Protease Independent▿  
Antimicrobial peptides are short, positively charged, amphipathic peptides that possess a wide spectrum of antimicrobial activity and have an important role in the host's innate immunity. Lack of, or dysfunctions in, antimicrobial peptides have been correlated with infectious diseases, including periodontitis. Porphyromonas gingivalis, a gram-negative anaerobe and a major pathogen associated with periodontal diseases, is resistant to antimicrobial peptides of human and nonhuman origin, a feature that likely contributes to its virulence. Expressing a robust proteolytic activity, P. gingivalis hydrolyzes antimicrobial peptides. In this study, P. gingivalis inactivated three antimicrobial peptides, while a d-enantiomer was resistant to degradation. P. gingivalis was resistant to the protease-resistant d-enantiomer peptide, and importantly, a protease-deficient P. gingivalis mutant was also resistant to the antimicrobial peptide. Finally, the binding of a fluorescently labeled antimicrobial peptide to protease-deficient P. gingivalis was much weaker than the binding of susceptible Escherichia coli. Our results suggest that the resistance of P. gingivalis ATCC 33277 to direct killing by antimicrobial peptides is protease independent and results (at least partially) from the low affinity of antimicrobial peptides to P. gingivalis.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01271-07
PMCID: PMC2224744  PMID: 18086848
7.  Cleavage of IgG1 in GCF is associated with presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis 
Journal of periodontal research  2012;48(4):458-465.
Background and Objectives
Immunoglobulin (Ig) G1 plays an important role in the adaptive immune response. Kgp, a lysine-specific cysteine protease from Porphyromonas gingivalis, specifically hydrolyses IgG1 heavy chains. The purpose of this study was to examine whether cleavage of IgG1 occurs in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) in vivo, and whether there is any association with the presence of P. gingivalis and other periodontopathogens.
Material and methods
GCF was obtained from nine patients with aggressive periodontitis, nine with chronic periodontitis, and five periodontally-healthy individuals. The bacterial loads of P. gingivalis, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Treponema denticola, Prevotella intermedia, and Tannerella forsythia were analysed by real-time PCR, and the presence and cleavage of IgG1 and IgG2 were determined using Western blotting. Kgp levels were measured by ELISA.
Results
Cleaved IgG1 was identified in the GCF from 67% of patients with aggressive periodontitis and in 44% of patients with chronic periodontitis. By contrast, no cleaved IgG1 was detectable in the healthy controls. No degradation of IgG2 was detected in any of the samples, regardless of health status. P. gingivalis was found in high numbers in all samples in which cleavage of IgG1 was detected (p < 0.001 compared with samples with no IgG cleavage). Furthermore, high numbers of T. forsythia and P. intermedia were also present in these samples. The level of Kgp in the GCF correlated with the load of P. gingivalis (r = 0.425, p < 0.01). The presence of Kgp (range 0.07–10.98 ng/ml) was associated with proteolytic fragments of IgG1 (p < 0.001). However, cleaved IgG1 was also detected in samples with no detectable Kgp.
Conclusion
In patients with periodontitis cleavage of IgG1 occurs in vivo and may suppress antibody-dependent antibacterial activity in subgingival biofilms especially those colonized by P. gingivalis.
doi:10.1111/jre.12027
PMCID: PMC3566341  PMID: 23116446
IgG; GCF; periodontitis Porphyromonas gingivalis; gingipains
8.  Mutualistic Biofilm Communities Develop with Porphyromonas gingivalis and Initial, Early, and Late Colonizers of Enamel▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(22):6804-6811.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is present in dental plaque as early as 4 h after tooth cleaning, but it is also associated with periodontal disease, a late-developing event in the microbial successions that characterize daily plaque development. We report here that P. gingivalis ATCC 33277 is remarkable in its ability to interact with a variety of initial, early, middle, and late colonizers growing solely on saliva. Integration of P. gingivalis into multispecies communities was investigated by using two in vitro biofilm models. In flow cells, bacterial growth was quantified using fluorescently conjugated antibodies against each species, and static biofilm growth on saliva-submerged polystyrene pegs was analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR using species-specific primers. P. gingivalis could not grow as a single species or together with initial colonizer Streptococcus oralis but showed mutualistic growth when paired with two other initial colonizers, Streptococcus gordonii and Actinomyces oris, as well as with Veillonella sp. (early colonizer), Fusobacterium nucleatum (middle colonizer), and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (late colonizer). In three-species flow cells, P. gingivalis grew with Veillonella sp. and A. actinomycetemcomitans but not with S. oralis and A. actinomycetemcomitans. Also, it grew with Veillonella sp. and F. nucleatum but not with S. oralis and F. nucleatum, indicating that P. gingivalis and S. oralis are not compatible. However, P. gingivalis grew in combination with S. gordonii and S. oralis, demonstrating its ability to overcome the incompatibility when cultured with a second initially colonizing species. Collectively, these data help explain the observed presence of P. gingivalis at all stages of dental plaque development.
doi:10.1128/JB.01006-09
PMCID: PMC2772475  PMID: 19749049
9.  Tracking of plasma antibodies against Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis during 15 years 
Journal of Oral Microbiology  2009;1:10.3402/jom.v1i0.1979.
Background
Plasma antibody measurements of antibody levels to periodontal pathogens may be used to support diagnosis, disease activity, classification, and prognosis of periodontitis.
Objective
The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term stability of plasma antibody levels against Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis.
Design
Plasma immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody levels against the pathogens were analyzed annually during 15 years from 21 voluntary subjects, whose periodontal status was not known at the point of selection. The total number of plasma samples was 315. In connection of the last sampling, the clinical and radiographic periodontal status was examined. Pooled bacterial samples from periodontal pockets, as well as salivary samples were collected for A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis detection, and antibody determinations, respectively. According to the clinical status, six subjects had periodontitis, whereas 15 did not.
Results
Plasma IgG-class antibody levels to periodontal pathogens remained extremely stable during the 15-year period and no significant (p>0.05) intra-individual variations were observed. Retrospectively, the average plasma IgG antibody levels against A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis were 1.6–2.3 (p<0.05) and 1.4–1.7 (p<0.05) fold higher in the subjects with periodontitis than those without, respectively, during the whole 15-year tracking. As expected, at the time of the periodontal examination the plasma and salivary IgG antibody levels were associated both with periodontitis and bacterium-positivity.
Conclusions
Plasma IgG levels against A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis are extremely stable during 15 years both in subjects with and without periodontitis.
doi:10.3402/jom.v1i0.1979
PMCID: PMC3077000  PMID: 21523211
Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans; longitudinal studies; periodontitis; plasma; oral infections; Porphyromonas gingivalis; saliva
10.  Fimbria-Dependent Activation of Cell Adhesion Molecule Expression in Porphyromonas gingivalis-Infected Endothelial Cells  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(1):257-267.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is an oral pathogen that has recently been associated with chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis. The strength of the epidemiological associations of P. gingivalis with atherosclerosis can be increased by the demonstration that P. gingivalis can initiate and sustain growth in human vascular cells. We previously established that P. gingivalis can invade aortic, heart, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), that fimbriae are required for invasion of endothelial cells, and that fimbrillin peptides can induce the expression of the chemokines interleukin 8 and monocyte chemotactic protein. In this study, we examined the expression of surface-associated cell adhesion molecules on endothelial cells in response to P. gingivalis infection by fluorescence-activated cell sorting FACS analysis and confocal microscopy. Coculture of HUVEC with P. gingivalis strain 381 or A7436 resulted in the induction in the expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and P- and E-selectins, which was maximal at 48 h postinfection. In contrast, we did not observe induction of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, or P- or E-selectin expression in HUVEC cultured with the noninvasive P. gingivalis fimA mutant DPG3 or when P. gingivalis was incubated with fimbrillin peptide-specific anti-sera prior to the addition to HUVEC. Furthermore, the addition of a peptide corresponding to the N-terminal domain of fimbrillin to HUVEC resulted in an increase in ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and P- and E-selectins, which was maximal at 48 h and similar to that observed for live P. gingivalis. Treatment of P. gingivalis-infected HUVEC with cytochalsin D, which prevented P. gingivalis invasion, also resulted in the inhibition of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, or P- and E-selectin expression. Taken together, these results indicate that active P. gingivalis invasion of HUVEC mediated via the major fimbriae stimulates surface-associated cell adhesion molecule expression. Stimulation of adhesion molecules involved in the recruitment of leukocytes to sites of inflammation by P. gingivalis may play a role in the pathogenesis of systemic inflammatory diseases associated with this microorganism, including atherosclerosis.
doi:10.1128/IAI.70.1.257-267.2002
PMCID: PMC127610  PMID: 11748191
11.  Oral Immunization with Recombinant Streptococcus gordonii Expressing Porphyromonas gingivalis FimA Domains 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(5):2928-2934.
Porphyromonas gingivalis, a gram-negative anaerobe, is implicated in the etiology of adult periodontitis. P. gingivalis fimbriae are one of several critical surface virulence factors involved in both bacterial adherence and inflammation. P. gingivalis fimbrillin (FimA), the major subunit protein of fimbriae, is considered an important antigen for vaccine development against P. gingivalis-associated periodontitis. We have previously shown that biologically active domains of P. gingivalis fimbrillin can be expressed on the surface of the human commensal bacterium Streptococcus gordonii. In this study, we examined the effects of oral coimmunization of germfree rats with two S. gordonii recombinants expressing N (residues 55 to 145)- and C (residues 226 to 337)-terminal epitopes of P. gingivalis FimA to elicit FimA-specific immune responses. The effectiveness of immunization in protecting against alveolar bone loss following P. gingivalis infection was also evaluated. The results of this study show that the oral delivery of P. gingivalis FimA epitopes via S. gordonii vectors resulted in the induction of FimA-specific serum (immunoglobulin G [IgG] and IgA) and salivary (IgA) antibody responses and that the immune responses were protective against subsequent P. gingivalis-induced alveolar bone loss. These results support the potential usefulness of the S. gordonii vectors expressing P. gingivalis fimbrillin as a mucosal vaccine against adult periodontitis.
doi:10.1128/IAI.69.5.2928-2934.2001
PMCID: PMC98244  PMID: 11292708
12.  Porphyromonas gingivalis Resistance to Polymyxin B Is Determined by the Lipid A 4′-Phosphatase, PGN_0524 
Aim
To elucidate the genetic basis for the pronounced resistance that the oral pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), exhibits towards the cationic antimicrobial peptide, polymyxin B.
Methodology
A genetic screen of P. gingivalis clones generated by a Tn4400′-based random insertion mutagenesis strategy was performed to identify bacteria harboring novel genetic mutations that render P. gingivalis susceptible to killing by the cationic antimicrobial peptide, polymyxin B (PMB, 50 μg·mL−1).
Results
P. gingivalis (ATCC 33277) is unusually resistant to the cationic antimicrobial peptide, PMB at relatively high concentrations (200 μg·mL−1). Approximately 2,700 independent Tn4400′-derived mutants of P. gingivalis were examined for increased sensitivity to PMB killing at a relatively low dose (50 μg·mL−1). A single PMB-sensitive mutant was obtained in this phenotypic screen. We determined that the Tn4400′ transposon was integrated into the gene encoding the lipid A 4′-phosphatase, PGN_0524, demonstrating that this insertion event was responsible for its increased susceptibility of this clone to PMB-dependent killing. The resulting mutant strain, designated 0524-Tn4400′, was highly sensitive to PMB killing relative to wild-type P. gingivalis, and exhibited the same sensitivity as the previously characterized strain, 0524KO, which bears a genetically engineered deletion in the PGN_0524 locus. Positive ion mass spectrometric structural (MALDI-TOF MS) analyses revealed that lipid A isolates from 0524-Tn4400′ and 0524KO strains displayed strikingly similar MALDI-TOF MS spectra that were substantially different from the wild-type P. gingivalis lipid A spectrum. Finally, intact 0524-Tn4400′ and 0524KO mutant bacteria, as well as their corresponding LPS isolates, were significantly more potent in stimulating Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-dependent E-selectin expression in human endothelial cells relative to intact wild-type P. gingivalis or its corresponding LPS isolate.
Conclusion
The combined molecular evidence provided in this report suggests that PGN_0524, a lipid A 4′-phosphatase, is the sole genetic element conferring the ability of the periodontopathogen, P. gingivalis, to evade the killing activity of cationic antimicrobial peptides, such as PMB. These data strongly implicate PGN_0524 as a critical virulence factor for the ability of P. gingivalis to evade front-line host innate defenses that are dependent upon cationic antimicrobial peptide activity and TLR4 sensing.
doi:10.4248/IJOS.09062
PMCID: PMC2909122  PMID: 20657724
P. gingivalis; antimicrobial peptide; lipid A phosphatase; polymyxin B; transposon; lipopolysaccharide
13.  Porphyromonas gingivalis Resistance to Polymyxin B Is Determined by the Lipid A 4′-Phosphatase, PGN_0524 
Aim
To elucidate the genetic basis for the pronounced resistance that the oral pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), exhibits towards the cationic antimicrobial peptide, polymyxin B.
Methodology
A genetic screen of P. gingivalis clones generated by a Tn4400′-based random insertion mutagenesis strategy was performed to identify bacteria harboring novel genetic mutations that render P. gingivalis susceptible to killing by the cationic antimicrobial peptide, polymyxin B (PMB, 50 μg·mL−1).
Results
P. gingivalis (ATCC 33277) is unusually resistant to the cationic antimicrobial peptide, PMB at relatively high concentrations (200 μg·mL−1). Approximately 2,700 independent Tn4400′-derived mutants of P. gingivalis were examined for increased sensitivity to PMB killing at a relatively low dose (50 μg·mL−1). A single PMB-sensitive mutant was obtained in this phenotypic screen. We determined that the Tn4400′ transposon was integrated into the gene encoding the lipid A 4′-phosphatase, PGN_0524, demonstrating that this insertion event was responsible for its increased susceptibility of this clone to PMB-dependent killing. The resulting mutant strain, designated 0524-Tn4400′, was highly sensitive to PMB killing relative to wild-type P. gingivalis, and exhibited the same sensitivity as the previously characterized strain, 0524KO, which bears a genetically engineered deletion in the PGN_0524 locus. Positive ion mass spectrometric structural (MALDI-TOF MS) analyses revealed that lipid A isolates from 0524-Tn4400′ and 0524KO strains displayed strikingly similar MALDI-TOF MS spectra that were substantially different from the wild-type P. gingivalis lipid A spectrum. Finally, intact 0524-Tn4400′ and 0524KO mutant bacteria, as well as their corresponding LPS isolates, were significantly more potent in stimulating Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-dependent E-selectin expression in human endothelial cells relative to intact wild-type P. gingivalis or its corresponding LPS isolate.
Conclusion
The combined molecular evidence provided in this report suggests that PGN_0524, a lipid A 4′-phosphatase, is the sole genetic element conferring the ability of the periodontopathogen, P. gingivalis, to evade the killing activity of cationic antimicrobial peptides, such as PMB. These data strongly implicate PGN_0524 as a critical virulence factor for the ability of P. gingivalis to evade front-line host innate defenses that are dependent upon cationic antimicrobial peptide activity and TLR4 sensing.
doi:10.4248/IJOS.09062
PMCID: PMC2909122  PMID: 20657724
P. gingivalis; antimicrobial peptide; lipid A phosphatase; polymyxin B; transposon; lipopolysaccharide
14.  Influence of immunization on Porphyromonas gingivalis colonization and invasion in the mouse chamber model. 
Infection and Immunity  1992;60(4):1447-1454.
The effects of immunization with invasive or noninvasive Porphyromonas (Bacteroides) gingivalis strains on the pathogenesis of infection in a mouse chamber model were examined. BALB/c mice were immunized by a single injection of heat-killed P. gingivalis invasive strain A7436 or W83 or noninvasive strain 33277, HG405, or 381 directly into subcutaneous chambers. P. gingivalis-specific antibody was detected in chamber fluid 21 days postimmunization, and mice were subsequently challenged by injection of exponential-phase P. gingivalis into chambers. Immunization with A7436 or W83 followed by challenge with A7436 protected mice against secondary abscess formation and death; however, P. gingivalis persisted in chambers for up to 14 days postchallenge. Immunization with noninvasive strain 33277, HG405, or 381 followed by challenge with invasive strain A7436 or W83 protected mice against secondary lesion formation and death. P. gingivalis was cultured from 33277- or HG405-immunized and nonimmunized animals to day 14. All P. gingivalis strains induced an immunoglobulin G response, as measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western immunoblotting of P. gingivalis whole-cell and outer membrane protein preparations. Western blot analyses indicated that sera from mice immunized with different invasive and noninvasive strains recognized common P. gingivalis antigens. In summary, immunization with invasive P. gingivalis A7436 and W83 or noninvasive P. gingivalis 33277, HG405, and 381 protected mice from secondary lesion formation and death after challenge with invasive P. gingivalis A7436 or W83. P. gingivalis-specific antibody did not, however, inhibit the colonization of P. gingivalis within chambers.
Images
PMCID: PMC257017  PMID: 1312515
15.  Host Responses to Recombinant Hemagglutinin B of Porphyromonas gingivalis in an Experimental Rat Model 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(9):4352-4359.
Porphyromonas gingivalis, a gram-negative, black-pigmented anaerobe, is among the microorganisms implicated in the etiology of adult periodontal disease. This bacterium possesses a number of factors, including hemagglutinins, of potential importance in virulence. Several hemagglutinin genes have been identified, cloned, and expressed in Escherichia coli. The purpose of this study was to characterize host responses to purified recombinant hemagglutinin B (rHag B), using the conventional Fischer rat as the experimental animal model. The effectiveness of immunization with rHag B on protection against experimental periodontal bone loss following infection with P. gingivalis was also evaluated. Groups of rats were immunized by the subcutaneous route with rHag B in complete Freund’s adjuvant, immunized with rHag B and orally infected with P. gingivalis, nonimmunized and noninfected, or orally infected with P. gingivalis only. Serum and saliva samples were collected throughout the experiment and evaluated for serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM and salivary IgA antibody activity by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. No salivary IgA anti-Hag B activity was detected in the various groups of rats. A slight serum IgM response similar to that seen in preimmune samples was observed. Serum IgG antibody activity to Hag B was detected only in samples from rats immunized with rHag B. This response was primarily of the IgG1 and IgG2a subclasses, followed by IgG2b and low levels of IgG2c. Supernatants from rHag B-stimulated splenic lymphoid cell cultures from immunized rats contained high levels of gamma interferon, followed by interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-10, and then IL-4. These results are consistent with the induction of T helper type 1 (Th1)- and Th2-like responses. Western blot analysis of sera derived from rHag B-immunized rats reacted with trichloroacetic acid (TCA) precipitates of P. gingivalis 33277, 381, A7A1-28, and W50, revealing a 50-kDa band reflective of Hag B. However, sera derived from rats immunized with P. gingivalis whole cells or from rats infected with P. gingivalis only did not react with rHag B but did react with TCA precipitates of P. gingivalis strains. Finally, radiographic measurements of periodontal bone loss indicated that rats immunized with rHag B had less bone loss than those infected with P. gingivalis only. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of purified rHag B in inducing a protective immune response and support the potential usefulness of this component of P. gingivalis in the development of a vaccine against adult periodontitis.
PMCID: PMC96752  PMID: 10456874
16.  Antibacterial Effect of an Herbal Product Persica on Porphyromonas Gingivalis and Aggregatibacter Actinomycetemcomitans: An In-Vitro Study 
Objective:
The plant Salvadora persica is used for oral hygiene in many parts of the world. It has been suggested that it has antibacterial properties, in addition to its ability to mechanically remove plaques. The aim of this study was to assess the antimicrobial activity of the herbal product Persica containing Salvadora persica against periodontopathogens Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans in vitro.
Materials and Methods:
Fifty patients with moderate and severe periodontitis were recruited. Using paper points, subgingival plaque samples were taken from pockets with attachment loss ≥ 3mm. The samples were subjected to microbial culture to yield P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans. The ditch plate method was used for antimicrobial susceptibility testing of the bacteria to Persica compared to chlorhexidine and distilled water. The growth inhibition zones of microorganisms around the ditches were measured in millimeters. The data were analyzed using SPSS 16. Freidman test and Wilcoxon signed ranks test with Bonferroni adjustment were used for analysis of variance with 5% significance level. P<0.05 for main comparisons and P< 0.017 for multiple comparisons were considered statistically significant.
Results:
P. gingivalis was sensitive to chlorhexidine and persica. There was a significant difference (P=0.001) between antimicrobial activity of chlorhexidine (mean 28.733mm, SD 5.216) and Persica (mean 16.333mm, SD 5.259) compared to water against P. gingivalis. There was a significant difference (P< 0.001) between the antimicrobial activity of chlorhexidine (24.045mm, SD 3.897) and Persica (0.545mm, SD 2.558) with respect to A. actinomycetemcomitans. There was no significant difference (P=0.317) between the antimicrobial activity of Persica and water against A. actinomycetemcomitans.
Conclusion:
The herbal product Persica had significant antimicrobial activity against P. gingivalis and negligible antimicrobial activity against A. actinomycetemcomitans compared to 0.2% chlorhexidine.
PMCID: PMC4283749  PMID: 25584059
Salvadora persica; Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans; Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing; Porphyromonas Gingivalis; Aggregatibacter
17.  Phototoxic effect of blue light on the planktonic and biofilm state of anaerobic periodontal pathogens 
Purpose
The purpose of this study was to compare the phototoxic effects of blue light exposure on periodontal pathogens in both planktonic and biofilm cultures.
Methods
Strains of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Fusobacterium nucleatum, and Porphyromonas gingivalis, in planktonic or biofilm states, were exposed to visible light at wavelengths of 400.520 nm. A quartz-tungsten-halogen lamp at a power density of 500 mW/cm2 was used for the light source. Each sample was exposed to 15, 30, 60, 90, or 120 seconds of each bacterial strain in the planktonic or biofilm state. Confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM) was used to observe the distribution of live/dead bacterial cells in biofilms. After light exposure, the bacterial killing rates were calculated from colony forming unit (CFU) counts.
Results
CLSM images that were obtained from biofilms showed a mixture of dead and live bacterial cells extending to a depth of 30-45 µm. Obvious differences in the live-to-dead bacterial cell ratio were found in P. gingivalis biofilm according to light exposure time. In the planktonic state, almost all bacteria were killed with 60 seconds of light exposure to F. nucleatum (99.1%) and with 15 seconds to P. gingivalis (100%). In the biofilm state, however, only the CFU of P. gingivalis demonstrated a decreasing tendency with increasing light exposure time, and there was a lower efficacy of phototoxicity to P. gingivalis as biofilm than in the planktonic state.
Conclusions
Blue light exposure using a dental halogen curing unit is effective in reducing periodontal pathogens in the planktonic state. It is recommended that an adjunctive exogenous photosensitizer be used and that pathogens be exposed to visible light for clinical antimicrobial periodontal therapy.
doi:10.5051/jpis.2013.43.2.72
PMCID: PMC3651940  PMID: 23678390
Biofilms; Dental curing lights
18.  Humoral immunity of older adults with periodontal disease to Porphyromonas gingivalis. 
Infection and Immunity  1991;59(12):4363-4370.
The effect of age on the humoral response to Porphyromonas gingivalis was assessed in groups of adults (25 to 54 years and 55 to 74 years) with periodontal disease and compared with that in age-matched healthy controls. To determine whether there was an antibody response against P. gingivalis, we measured serum antibodies against whole cells of P. gingivalis 381, A7A1-28, and W50. In addition, antibody levels against purified P. gingivalis outer membrane proteins (i.e., the 43-kDa fimbrial protein and a 75-kDa protein) were also evaluated. Elderly subjects showed the same response to P. gingivalis as younger subjects. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to both purified proteins were also elevated in both diseased groups as compared with the normal groups. Total serum IgG, IgA, and IgM levels were also determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for all four groups. Total serum IgG levels were elevated in older adults with periodontitis and total IgA levels were elevated in both groups of older adults compared with the younger groups of similar disease status. Total serum IgM levels were comparable for the four groups. Antinuclear antibody titers were assessed in the two groups of older adults and were also found to be higher for the group with periodontitis. These studies show that older adults as well as younger adults have markedly elevated specific antibodies of the IgG and IgA classes to antigens of P. gingivalis, a putative pathogen in both groups. Furthermore, older adults with periodontitis have significantly elevated levels of total serum IgG which may possibly be related to higher levels of autoantibodies.
PMCID: PMC259050  PMID: 1682261
19.  Multiplex PCR using conserved and species-specific 16S rRNA gene primers for simultaneous detection of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1996;34(11):2674-2678.
Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis are strongly associated with periodontitis. However, little is known about their distribution in periodontally healthy individuals, because culturing techniques are not sufficiently sensitive. A modified multiplex PCR was developed to address that question. Our method uses two species-specific forward primers in combination with a single reverse primer. These primers target variable and conserved regions of the 16S rRNA gene. Sensitivity was determined by testing serial dilutions of A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis cells. Primer specificity was tested against (i) six A. actinomycetemcomitans strains and four P. gingivalis strains, (ii) seven different species of oral bacteria, and (iii) supra- and subgingival plaque from 20 subjects. The multiplex PCR had a lower limit of detection of 2 A. actinomycetemcomitans and 30 P. gingivalis cells. Species-specific amplicons were obtained for all A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis strains tested and did not occur with seven other bacterial species unless A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis were added. Neither target species was detected in supragingival plaque; A. actinomycetemcomitans was detected in one subgingival specimen, and P. gingivalis was detected in another. When plaque samples were spiked with 10 A. actinomycetemcomitans cells and 100 P. gingivalis cells, species-specific amplicons were detected. These findings show our multiplex PCR to be highly sensitive and specific while allowing simultaneous detection of A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis. This assay has potential applications in epidemiological studies, diagnosis, treatment planning, and monitoring of periodontal pathogens.
PMCID: PMC229384  PMID: 8897163
20.  Selective substitution of amino acids limits proteolytic cleavage and improves the bioactivity of an anti-biofilm peptide that targets the periodontal pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis 
Peptides  2010;31(12):2173-2178.
The interaction of the periodontal pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis with oral streptococci such as Streptococcus gordonii precedes colonization of the subgingival pocket and represents a target for limiting P. gingivalis colonization of the oral cavity. Previous studies showed that a synthetic peptide (designated BAR) derived from the antigen I/II protein of S. gordonii was a potent competitive inhibitor of P. gingivalis adherence to S. gordonii and subsequent biofilm formation. Here we show that despite its inhibitory activity, BAR is rapidly degraded by intact P. gingivalis cells in vitro. However, in the presence of soluble Mfa protein, the P. gingivalis receptor for BAR, the peptide is protected from proteolytic degradation suggesting that the affinity of BAR for Mfa is higher than for P. gingivalis proteases. The rate of BAR degradation was reduced when the P. gingivalis lysine-specific gingipain was inhibited using the specific protease inhibitor, z-FKcK, or when the gene encoding the Lys-gingipain was inactivated. In addition, substituting D-Lys for L-Lys residues in BAR prevented degradation of the peptide when incubated with the Lys-gingipain and increased its specific adherence inhibitory activity in a S. gordonii-P. gingivalis dual species biofilm model. These results suggest that Lys-gingipain accounts in large part for P. gingivalis-mediated degradation of BAR and that more effective peptide inhibitors of P. gingivalis adherence to streptococci can be produced by introducing modifications that limit the susceptibility of BAR to the Lys–gingipain and other P. gingivalis associated proteases.
doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2010.08.014
PMCID: PMC2967622  PMID: 20800634
Porphyromonas gingivalis; Streptococcus gordonii; biofilm; gingipain
21.  Antibody responses to Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis and periodontitis 
Summary
Antibody titers to P. gingivalis are increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and are associated with disease-specific autoimmunity.
Background
Periodontitis (PD) has been implicated as a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We sought to characterize antibody titers to P. gingivalis (a pathogen in PD) in subjects with RA, PD, and in healthy controls and to examine their relationship with disease autoantibodies.
Methods
P. gingivalis antibody was measured in subjects with RA (n = 78), PD (n = 39), and in controls (n = 40). Group frequencies of bacterial titer elevations were compared using the Chi-square test and antibody titers were compared using non-parametric tests. Correlations of P. gingivalis titer with C-reactive protein (CRP), antibody to cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP), and rheumatoid factor (RF) were examined in those with RA while CRP and autoantibody concentrations were compared based on seropositivity to P. gingivalis.
Results
Antibody titers to P. gingivalis were highest in PD, lowest in controls, and intermediate in RA (p = 0.0003). Elevations in P. gingivalis (titer ≥ 800) were more common in RA and PD (67% and 77%, respectively) than in controls (40%) (p = 0.002). In RA, there were significant correlations with P. gingivalis titer with CRP, anti-CCP-IgM, and -IgG-2. CRP (p = 0.006), anti-CCP-IgM (p = 0.01) and -IgG2 (p = 0.04) concentrations were higher in RA cases with P. gingivalis titers ≥ 800 compared to cases with titers < 800.
Conclusion
Antibodies to P. gingivalis are more common in RA subjects than controls, although lower than that in PD. Associations of P. gingivalis titers with RA-related autoantibody and CRP concentrations suggests that infection with this organism plays a role in disease risk and progression in RA.
doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2008.09.008
PMCID: PMC2748386  PMID: 18848647
periodontitis; rheumatoid arthritis; Porphyromonas gingivalis; anti-CCP; rheumatoid factor
22.  Antimicrobial peptides and nitric oxide production by neutrophils from periodontitis subjects 
Neutrophils play an important role in periodontitis by producing nitric oxide (NO) and antimicrobial peptides, molecules with microbicidal activity via oxygen-dependent and -independent mechanisms, respectively. It is unknown whether variation in the production of antimicrobial peptides such as LL-37, human neutrophil peptides (HNP) 1-3, and NO by neutrophils influences the pathogenesis of periodontal diseases. We compared the production of these peptides and NO by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated neutrophils isolated from healthy subjects and from patients with periodontitis. Peripheral blood neutrophils were cultured with or without Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans-LPS (Aa-LPS), Porphyromonas gingivalis-LPS (Pg-LPS) and Escherichia coli-LPS (Ec-LPS). qRT-PCR was used to determine quantities of HNP 1-3 and LL-37 mRNA in neutrophils. Amounts of HNP 1-3 and LL-37 proteins in the cell culture supernatants were also determined by ELISA. In addition, NO levels in neutrophil culture supernatants were quantitated by the Griess reaction. Neutrophils from periodontitis patients cultured with Aa-LPS, Pg-LPS and Ec-LPS expressed higher HNP 1-3 mRNA than neutrophils from healthy subjects. LL-37 mRNA expression was higher in neutrophils from patients stimulated with Aa-LPS. Neutrophils from periodontitis patients produced significantly higher LL-37 protein levels than neutrophils from healthy subjects when stimulated with Pg-LPS and Ec-LPS, but no difference was observed in HNP 1-3 production. Neutrophils from periodontitis patients cultured or not with Pg-LPS and Ec-LPS produced significantly lower NO levels than neutrophils from healthy subjects. The significant differences in the production of LL-37 and NO between neutrophils from healthy and periodontitis subjects indicate that production of these molecules might influence individual susceptibility to important periodontal pathogens.
doi:10.1590/S0100-879X2012007500123
PMCID: PMC3854147  PMID: 22850872
Antimicrobial peptides; Nitric oxide; Neutrophils; Periodontitis; Innate immunity
23.  Roles of the Host Oxidative Immune Response and Bacterial Antioxidant Rubrerythrin during Porphyromonas gingivalis Infection  
PLoS Pathogens  2006;2(7):e76.
The efficient clearance of microbes by neutrophils requires the concerted action of reactive oxygen species and microbicidal components within leukocyte secretory granules. Rubrerythrin (Rbr) is a nonheme iron protein that protects many air-sensitive bacteria against oxidative stress. Using oxidative burst-knockout (NADPH oxidase–null) mice and an rbr gene knockout bacterial strain, we investigated the interplay between the phagocytic oxidative burst of the host and the oxidative stress response of the anaerobic periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. Rbr ensured the proliferation of P. gingivalis in mice that possessed a fully functional oxidative burst response, but not in NADPH oxidase–null mice. Furthermore, the in vivo protection afforded by Rbr was not associated with the oxidative burst responses of isolated neutrophils in vitro. Although the phagocyte-derived oxidative burst response was largely ineffective against P. gingivalis infection, the corresponding oxidative response to the Rbr-positive microbe contributed to host-induced pathology via potent mobilization and systemic activation of neutrophils. It appeared that Rbr also provided protection against reactive nitrogen species, thereby ensuring the survival of P. gingivalis in the infected host. The presence of the rbr gene in P. gingivalis also led to greater oral bone loss upon infection. Collectively, these results indicate that the host oxidative burst paradoxically enhances the survival of P. gingivalis by exacerbating local and systemic inflammation, thereby contributing to the morbidity and mortality associated with infection.
Synopsis
The physiological role of neutrophils is to seek out and destroy invading microbes. Professional phagocytes engulf (phagocytose) these organisms and kill them using bactericidal peptides, enzymes, toxic reactive oxygen species, and reactive nitrogen species produced by neutrophils and macrophages. Unfortunately, the reactive oxygen species unleashed in an oxidative burst response can cause considerable collateral damage and are directly responsible for infection-associated tissues injuries, especially if the invaders are protected against killing by neutrophils. The authors investigated the pathogenesis of Porphyromonas gingivalis, an anaerobic bacterium that is responsible for human periodontal disease and is protected against oxidative stress by the cytoplasmic protein rubrerythrin. We show that P. gingivalis is not only resistant to reactive oxygen species, but that in mice, rubrerythrin shields the bacterium against reactive nitrogen species. These features allow P. gingivalis to proliferate in animals that possess a fully functional oxidative burst response. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the neutrophil oxidative burst response, rather than eliminating the bacteria, exacerbates disease by damaging host tissues and facilitating growth and systemic dissemination of the pathogen. Collectively, this study provides important information on how oxygen-dependent killing mechanisms operate during anaerobic infection and on the role of rubrerythrin in protecting against a pathogenic anaerobic organism, while emphasizing the importance of limiting host-mediated tissue injury in inflammatory diseases caused by bacteria.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0020076
PMCID: PMC1522038  PMID: 16895445
24.  Periodontitis in established rheumatoid arthritis patients: a cross-sectional clinical, microbiological and serological study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(5):R222.
Introduction
The association between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and periodontitis is suggested to be linked to the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. Colonization of P. gingivalis in the oral cavity of RA patients has been scarcely considered. To further explore whether the association between periodontitis and RA is dependent on P. gingivalis, we compared host immune responses in RA patients with and without periodontitis in relation to presence of cultivable P. gingivalis in subgingival plaque.
Methods
In 95 RA patients, the periodontal condition was examined using the Dutch Periodontal Screening Index for treatment needs. Subgingival plaque samples were tested for presence of P. gingivalis by anaerobic culture technique. IgA, IgG and IgM antibody titers to P. gingivalis were measured by ELISA. Serum and subgingival plaque measures were compared to a matched control group of non-RA subjects.
Results
A higher prevalence of severe periodontitis was observed in RA patients in comparison to matched non-RA controls (27% versus 12%, p < 0.001). RA patients with severe periodontitis had higher DAS28 scores than RA patients with no or moderate periodontitis (p < 0.001), while no differences were seen in IgM-RF or ACPA reactivity. Furthermore, RA patients with severe periodontitis had higher IgG- and IgM-anti P. gingivalis titers than non-RA controls with severe periodontitis (p < 0.01 resp. p < 0.05), although subgingival occurrence of P. gingivalis was not different.
Conclusions
Severity of periodontitis is related to severity of RA. RA patients with severe periodontitis have a more robust antibody response against P. gingivalis than non-RA controls, but not all RA patients have cultivable P. gingivalis.
doi:10.1186/ar4061
PMCID: PMC3580533  PMID: 23075462
25.  Natural Competence Is a Major Mechanism for Horizontal DNA Transfer in the Oral Pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis 
mBio  2012;3(1):e00231-11.
ABSTRACT
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a Gram-negative anaerobe that resides exclusively in the human oral cavity. Long-term colonization by P. gingivalis requires the bacteria to evade host immune responses while adapting to the changing host physiology and alterations in the composition of the oral microflora. The genetic diversity of P. gingivalis appears to reflect the variability of its habitat; however, little is known about the molecular mechanisms generating this diversity. Previously, our research group established that chromosomal DNA transfer occurs between P. gingivalis strains. In this study, we examine the role of putative DNA transfer genes in conjugation and transformation and demonstrate that natural competence mediated by comF is the dominant form of chromosomal DNA transfer, with transfer by a conjugation-like mechanism playing a minor role. Our results reveal that natural competence mechanisms are present in multiple strains of P. gingivalis, and DNA uptake is not sensitive to DNA source or modification status. Furthermore, extracellular DNA was observed for the first time in P. gingivalis biofilms and is predicted to be the major DNA source for horizontal transfer and allelic exchange between strains. We propose that exchange of DNA in plaque biofilms by a transformation-like process is of major ecological importance in the survival and persistence of P. gingivalis in the challenging oral environment.
IMPORTANCE
P. gingivalis colonizes the oral cavities of humans worldwide. The long-term persistence of these bacteria can lead to the development of chronic periodontitis and host morbidity associated with tooth loss. P. gingivalis is a genetically diverse species, and this variability is believed to contribute to its successful colonization and survival in diverse human hosts, as well as evasion of host immune defenses and immunization strategies. We establish here that natural competence is the major driving force behind P. gingivalis DNA exchange and that conjugative DNA transfer plays a minor role. Furthermore, we reveal for the first time the presence of extracellular DNA in P. gingivalis biofilms, which is most likely the source of DNA exchanged between strains within dental plaque. These studies expand our understanding of the mechanisms used by this important member of the human oral flora to transition its relationship with the host from a commensal to a pathogenic relationship.
doi:10.1128/mBio.00231-11
PMCID: PMC3268665  PMID: 22294679

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