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J Immunol. 2007 Aug 15;179(4):2542-50.

Porphyromonas gingivalis selectively up-regulates the HIV-1 coreceptor CCR5 in oral keratinocytes.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Primary infection of oral epithelial cells by HIV-1, if it occurs, could promote systemic infection. Most primary systemic infections are associated with R5-type HIV-1 targeting the R5-specific coreceptor CCR5, which is not usually expressed on oral keratinocytes. Because coinfection with other microbes has been suggested to modulate cellular infection by HIV-1, we hypothesized that oral keratinocytes may up-regulate CCR5 in response to the oral endogenous pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis by cysteine-protease (gingipains) activation of the protease-activated receptors (PARs) or LPS signaling through the TLRs. The OKF6/TERT-2-immortalized normal human oral keratinocyte line expressed CXCR4, whereas CCR5 was not detectable. When exposed to P. gingivalis ATCC 33277, TERT-2 cells induced greater time-dependent expression of CCR5-specific mRNA and surface coreceptors than CXCR4. By comparing arg- (Rgp) and lys-gingipain (Kgp) mutants, a mutant deficient in both proteases, and the action of trypsin, P. gingivalis Rgp was strongly suggested to cleave PAR-1 and PAR-2 to up-regulate CCR5. CCR5 was also slightly up-regulated by an isogenic gingipain-deficient mutant, suggesting the presence of a nongingipain-mediated mechanism. Purified P. gingivalis LPS also up-regulated CCR5. Blocking TLR2 and TLR4 receptors with Abs attenuated induction of CCR5, suggesting LPS signaling through TLRs. P. gingivalis, therefore, selectively up-regulated CCR5 by two independent signaling pathways, Rgp acting on PAR-1 and PAR-2, and LPS on TLR2 and TLR4. By inducing CCR5 expression, P. gingivalis coinfection could promote selective R5-type HIV-1 infection of oral keratinocytes.

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