Cloning and expression of the superoxide dismutase gene of the feline strain of Porphyromonas gingivalis: immunological recognition of the protein by cats with periodontal disease

Vet Microbiol. 2002 May 1;86(3):245-56. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1135(01)00433-3.


Recent evidence suggests that feline members of the genus Porphyromonas are of consequence in periodontal disease in cats. Several possible virulence factors from feline strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis have been described that have similarities to those of human P. gingivalis. Both human and feline strains of P. gingivalis produce superoxide dismutase (SOD) which has been proposed as modulator of the inflammatory response during infection. The objective of this study was to clone the superoxide dismutase gene of feline P. gingivalis, to compare the characteristics of its product with that of the native enzyme and to determine its immunoreactivity in cats with periodontal disease. The sod gene of the feline strain Veterinary Pathology and Bacteriology (VPB) 3457 of P. gingivalis was amplified by PCR and cloned in frame with the alpha-peptide of the LacZ gene of E. coli in plasmid pUC19. This construct expressed SOD activity in E. coli with characteristics similar to those of the native SOD enzyme of P. gingivalis human strain 381 and the parent feline strain VPB 3457. The recombinant SOD had an apparent molecular weight of 54,700+/-1300 (S.E.M.) and was inactivated by 5mM hydrogen peroxide but not by 2mM KCN. There was a significant association (P=0.005) between the immunoreactivity of cats to P. gingivalis VPB 3457 soluble whole cell proteins on immunoblots and their responsiveness to the SOD protein. This suggests that cats showing a marked serum responsiveness to P. gingivalis itself, react to the SOD enzyme and further supports the role of feline P. gingivalis in periodontal disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteroidaceae Infections / metabolism
  • Bacteroidaceae Infections / microbiology
  • Bacteroidaceae Infections / veterinary*
  • Cat Diseases / metabolism
  • Cat Diseases / microbiology*
  • Cats
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel / veterinary
  • Escherichia coli
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Male
  • Molecular Weight
  • Periodontal Diseases / metabolism
  • Periodontal Diseases / microbiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / veterinary*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / enzymology*
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / genetics
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / pathogenicity
  • Superoxide Dismutase / biosynthesis
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism*
  • Virulence


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Superoxide Dismutase