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Microb Pathog. 2005 Feb-Mar;38(2-3):85-96.

Binding of Porphyromonas gingivalis gingipains to human CD4(+) T cells preferentially down-regulates surface CD2 and CD4 with little affect on co-stimulatory molecule expression.

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  • 1Institute of Dental Research, Westmead Millennium Institute and Centre for Oral Health, P. O. Box 533 Wentworthville, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


The role of Porphyromonas gingivalis cysteine proteinases (gingipains) in the evasion of host cell-mediated immunity has not been fully determined. In this study, modulation by gingipains of accessory and co-stimulatory molecule expression on human CD4(+) T cells was evaluated. Arg-gingipain rather than Lys-gingipain binds to resting CD4(+) T cells in the presence of serum. The constitutive expression of CD28 on T cells was slightly up-regulated following challenge with gingipains, whereas CD45 and CD3 were not affected. Binding of anti-CD2 and anti-CD4 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) was reduced after challenge of T cells with gingipains, but restored to 50 and 100%, respectively, of control levels, after 48h of incubation in medium depleted of gingipains. The induced expression, by anti-CD3 mAb, of CTLA-4, CD25, and CD40 ligand (CD40L) was decreased following incubation of T cells with gingipains which also led to decreased response to anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 mAbs as shown by reduction of interleukin-2 (IL-2) production. Cumulatively, these results indicate that activated gingipains attach to T cells and preferentially cleave CD2 and CD4 molecules, with potential to impair T cell responses at periodontal sites.

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