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J Innate Immun. 2010;2(3):288-93. doi: 10.1159/000281881. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

Proteolytic inactivation of LL-37 by karilysin, a novel virulence mechanism of Tannerella forsythia.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. joanna.koziel @ uj.edu.pl


Tannerella forsythia is a gram-negative bacterium strongly associated with the development and/or progression of periodontal disease. Here, we have shown that a newly characterized matrix metalloprotease-like enzyme, referred to as karilysin, efficiently cleaved the antimicrobial peptide LL-37, significantly reducing its bactericidal activity. This may contribute to the resistance of T. forsythia to the antibacterial activity of LL-37, since their vitality was found not to be affected by LL-37 at concentrations up to 2.2 muM. Furthermore, proteolysis of LL-37 by karilysin not only abolished its ability to bind lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to quench endotoxin-induced proinflammatory activity, but LL-37 cleavage also caused the release of active endotoxin from the LPS/LL-37 complex. Proteolytic inactivation of LL-37 bactericidal activity by karilysin may protect LL-37-sensitive species in the subgingival plaque and maintain the local inflammatory reaction driven by LPS from gram-negative bacteria. Consequently, the karilysin protease may directly contribute to periodontal tissue damage and the development and/or progression of chronic periodontitis.

(c) 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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