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Review
, 74 (1), 111-8

The Role of Gingipains in the Pathogenesis of Periodontal Disease

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Review

The Role of Gingipains in the Pathogenesis of Periodontal Disease

Takahisa Imamura. J Periodontol.

Abstract

Gingipains are trypsin-like cysteine proteinases produced by Porphyromonas gingivalis, a major causative bacterium of adult periodontitis. HRgpA (95 kDa) and RgpB (50 kDa), products of 2 distinct but related genes, rgpA and rgpB, respectively, are specific for Arg-Xaa peptide bonds. Kgp, a product of the kgp gene, is specific for Lys-Xaa bonds. HRgpA and Kgp are non-covalent complexes containing separate catalytic and adhesion/ hemagglutinin domains, while RgpB has only a catalytic domain with a primary structure essentially identical to that of the catalytic subunit of HRgp. HRgpA and RgpB induce vascular permeability enhancement through activation of the kallikrein/kinin pathway and activate the blood coagulation system, which, respectively, are potentially associated with gingival crevicular fluid production and progression of inflammation leading to alveolar bone loss in the periodontitis site. Kgp is the most potent fibrinogen/fibrin degrading enzyme of the 3 gingipains in human plasma and is involved in the bleeding tendency at the diseased gingiva. HRgpA activates coagulation factors and degrades fibrinogen/fibrin more efficiently than RgpB due to the adhesion/hemagglutinin domains, which have affinity for phospholipids and fibrinogen. Gingipains degrade macrophage CD14, thus inhibiting activation of the leukocytes through the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) receptor, and thereby facilitating sustained colonization of P. gingivalis. Gingipains play a role in bacterial housekeeping and infection, including amino acid uptake from host proteins and fimbriae maturation. Based on the important activities of gingipains in the bacterial infection and the pathogenesis of periodontitis, the bacterial proteinases can be targets for periodontal disease therapy. Immunization with RgpB, HRgpA, or a portion of HRgpA catalytic domain attenuated P. gingivalis induced disorders in mice. In addition, a trypsin-like proteinase inhibitor retarded P. gingivalis growth specifically. Gingipains are potent virulence factors of P. gingivalis, and are likely to be associated with the development of periodontitis. It is, therefore, suggested that gingipain inhibition by vaccination and gingipain-specific inhibitors is a useful therapy for adult periodontitis caused by P. gingivalis infection.

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