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J Periodontol. 2003 Jan;74(1):90-6.

Molecular interaction of Porphyromonas gingivalis with host cells: implication for the microbial pathogenesis of periodontal disease.

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Department of Oral Frontier Biology, Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, Suita-Osaka, Japan.


Porphyromonas gingivalis is a predominant periodontal pathogen, which expresses a number of potential virulence factors involved in the pathogenesis of periodontitis. Among them, fimbriae are a critical factor to mediate the bacterial interaction with host tissues, which promotes the bacterial adhesion to and invasion of the targeted sites. Fimbriae are capable of binding to human salivary components, commensal bacteria, and a variety of host cells including macrophages, epithelial cells, and fibroblasts. Human extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins such as vitronectin and fibronectin play important roles in cellular signal transduction via binding to receptor integrins. Fimbriae showed significant binding affinity to ECM proteins and clearly inhibited the molecular interactions between vitronectin/fibronectin and their receptor alphavbeta3 and alpha5beta1 integrins overexpressed on Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell strain. P. gingivalis fimbriae are likely to interrupt the cellular signaling via ECM proteins/integrins in periodontal regions. Fimbriae are also thought to be critically important in invasive events of the organism to host cells. The fimA genes, encoding FimA (a subunit of fimbriae), of P. gingivalis strains are classified into 5 types, I to V. Recent clinical investigations demonstrated the close relationship between the organisms with type II fimA and periodontitis development. Recombinant FimA (rFimA) proteins of types I to V were generated to compare their adhesion/invasion abilities to human gingival fibroblasts (HGF) and a human epithelial cell line (HEp-2 cells), respectively. There were no significant differences in the adhesion ability of microspheres (MS) coated with these rFimAs to HGF; however, the adhesion of type II rFimA-MS to HEp-2 cells was significantly greater than that of other rFimA types. It was also observed that the type II rFimA-MS markedly invaded the epithelial cells and accumulated around the nuclei. Collectively, these findings suggest that fimbriae of P. gingivalis, especially type II, are involved in the initiation and progression of human periodontitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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