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Acta Biochim Pol. 2004;51(1):253-62.

Lysine-specific gingipain K and heme/hemoglobin receptor HmuR are involved in heme utilization in Porphyromonas gingivalis.

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Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


We have previously reported on the identification and characterization of the Porphyromonas gingivalis A7436 strain outer membrane receptor HmuR, which is involved in the acquisition of hemin and hemoglobin. We demonstrated that HmuR interacts with the lysine- (Kgp) and arginine- (HRgpA) specific proteases (gingipains) and that Kgp and HRgpA can bind and degrade hemoglobin. Here, we report on the physiological significance of the HmuR-Kgp complex in heme utilization in P. gingivalis through the construction and characterization of a defined kgp mutant and a hmuR kgp double mutant in P. gingivalis A7436. The P. gingivalis kgp mutant exhibited a decreased ability to bind both hemin and hemoglobin. Growth of this strain with hemoglobin was delayed and its ability to utilize hemin as a sole iron source was diminished as compared to the wild type strain. Inactivation of both the hmuR and kgp genes resulted in further decreased ability of P. gingivalis to bind hemoglobin and hemin, as well as diminished ability to utilize either hemin or hemoglobin as a sole iron source. Collectively, these in vivo results further confirmed that both HmuR and Kgp are involved in the utilization of hemin and hemoglobin in P. gingivalis A7436.

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