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Oral Microbiol Immunol. 2002 Oct;17(5):290-5.

Cloning and expression of a Porphyromonas gingivalis gene for protoporphyrinogen oxidase by complementation of a hemG mutant of Escherichia coli.

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Department of Preventive Dentistry, Kyushu Dental College, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu 803-8580, Japan.


Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium implicated in periodontal pathogenesis, has a growth requirement for iron protoporphyrin IX. By complementation with a P. gingivalis 381 chromosomal DNA library, we were able to isolate a clone that enhanced the poor growth of a hemG mutant of Escherichia coli. The DNA sequence analysis of this clone revealed three open reading frames (ORFs). ORF3 encoded a protein of 466 amino acids with a calculated molecular weight of 51 695 Da. The deduced amino acid sequence of the ORF3 gene had significant similarity to sequences of protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) from Myxococcus xanthus (30% identical residues). When the ORF3 gene was overexpressed in E. coli, the extract had much higher PPO activity than a control extract, and this activity was inhibited by acifluorfen, a specific inhibitor of PPO. Thus, ORF3 was named PgHemG. Furthermore, several porphyrin-related genes, including hemD, hemN and hemH, were identified in the data bases on the websites available on-line. We postulated that a porphyrin biosynthetic pathway to heme from preuroporphyrin may be conserved in P. gingivalis.

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