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Microbiology. 2006 Jun;152(Pt 6):1839-45.

The HA2 haemagglutinin domain of the lysine-specific gingipain (Kgp) of Porphyromonas gingivalis promotes micro-oxo bishaem formation from monomeric iron(III) protoporphyrin IX.

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  • 1The University of Liverpool, Oral Microbiology Group, Department of Clinical Dental Sciences, The Edwards Building, Daulby Street, Liverpool L69 3GN, UK.


The lysine- and arginine-specific gingipains (Kgp, and RgpA and RgpB) are the major proteinases produced by the black-pigmented periodontopathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. They play a role in degrading host proteins, including haemoglobin, from which is formed the mu-oxo bishaem complex of iron(III) protoporphyrin IX, [Fe(III)PPIX]2O, the major haem component of the black pigment. Kgp and RgpA bind haem and haemoglobin via the haemagglutinin-adhesin 2 (HA2) domain, but the role of this domain in the formation of mu-oxo bishaem-containing pigment is not known. UV-visible spectroscopy was used to examine the interaction of iron(III) protoporphyrin IX monomers [Fe(III)PPIX.OH] with recombinant HA2 and purified HRgpA, Kgp and RgpB gingipains. The HA2 domain reacted with Fe(III)PPIX.OH to form mu-oxo bishaem, the presence of which was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Both HRgpA and Kgp, but not RgpB, also mediated mu-oxo bishaem formation and aggregation. It is concluded that the Arg- and Lys-gingipains with HA2 haemagglutinin domains may play a crucial role in haem-pigment formation by converting Fe(III)PPIX.OH monomers into [Fe(III)PPIX]2O and promoting their aggregation.

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