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Infect Immun. 2008 Jan;76(1):317-23. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Gingipains from Porphyromonas gingivalis increase the chemotactic and respiratory burst-priming properties of the 77-amino-acid interleukin-8 variant.

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School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham B4 7ET, United Kingdom.


Porphyromonas gingivalis, a gram-negative anaerobe which is implicated in the etiology of active periodontitis, secretes degradative enzymes (gingipains) and sheds proinflammatory mediators (e.g., lipopolysaccharides [LPS]). LPS triggers the secretion of interleukin-8 (IL-8) from immune (72-amino-acid [aa] variant [IL-8(72aa)]) and nonimmune (IL-8(77aa)) cells. IL-8(77aa) has low chemotactic and respiratory burst-inducing activity but is susceptible to cleavage by gingipains. This study shows that both R- and K-gingipain treatments of IL-8(77aa) significantly enhance burst activation by fMLP and chemotactic activity (P < 0.05) but decrease burst activation and chemotactic activity of IL-8(72aa) toward neutrophil-like HL60 cells and primary neutrophils (P < 0.05). Using tandem mass spectrometry, we have demonstrated that R-gingipain cleaves 5- and 11-aa peptides from the N-terminal portion of IL-8(77aa) and the resultant peptides are biologically active, while K-gingipain removes an 8-aa N-terminal peptide yielding a 69-aa isoform of IL-8 that shows enhanced biological activity. During periodontitis, secreted gingipains may differentially affect neutrophil chemotaxis and activation in response to IL-8 according to the cellular source of the chemokine.

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