Porphyromonas gingivalis is commonly known as one of the major pathogens contributing to periodontitis, and its persistent infection may increase the risk for the disease. The proinflammatory mediators, including IL-6, TNF-α, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)/PGE2, are closely associated with progression of periodontitis. In this study, we focused on the cysteine protease "gingipains," lysine-specific gingipain, arginine-specific gingipain (Rgp) A, and RgpB, produced by P. gingivalis, and used the wild-type strain and several gene-deletion mutants (rgpA, rgpB, kgp, and fimA) to elucidate the involvement of gingipains in COX-2 expression and PGE2 production. We infected human monocytes, which are THP-1 cells and primary monocytes, with these bacterial strains and found that gingipains were involved in induction of COX-2 expression and PGE2 production. We have shown that the protease activity of gingipains was crucial for these events by using gingipain inhibitors. Furthermore, activation of ERK1/2 and IκB kinase was required for gingipain-induced COX-2 expression/PGE2 production, and these kinases activated two transcription factors, c-Jun/c-Fos (AP-1) and NF-κB p65, respectively. In particular, these data suggest that gingipain-induced c-Fos expression via ERK is essential for AP-1 formation with c-Jun, and activation of AP-1 and NF-κB p65 plays a central role in COX-2 expression/PGE2 production. Thus, we show the (to our knowledge) novel finding that gingipains with the protease activity from P. gingivalis induce COX-2 expression and PGE2 production via activation of MEK/ERK/AP-1 and IκB kinase/NF-κB p65 in human monocytes. Hence it is likely that gingipains closely contribute to the inflammation of periodontal tissues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy