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PloS one

The Porphyromonas gingivalis ferric uptake regulator orthologue binds hemin and regulates hemin-responsive biofilm development.


PMID 25375181

Abstract

Porphyromonas gingivalis is a Gram-negative pathogen associated with the biofilm-mediated disease chronic periodontitis. P. gingivalis biofilm formation is dependent on environmental heme for which P. gingivalis has an obligate requirement as it is unable to synthesize protoporphyrin IX de novo, hence P. gingivalis transports iron and heme liberated from the human host. Homeostasis of a variety of transition metal ions is often mediated in Gram-negative bacteria at the transcriptional level by members of the Ferric Uptake Regulator (Fur) superfamily. P. gingivalis has a single predicted Fur superfamily orthologue which we have designated Har (heme associated regulator). Recombinant Har formed dimers in the presence of Zn2+ and bound one hemin molecule per monomer with high affinity (Kd of 0.23 µM). The binding of hemin resulted in conformational changes of Zn(II)Har and residue 97Cys was involved in hemin binding as part of a predicted -97C-98P-99L- hemin binding motif. The expression of 35 genes was down-regulated and 9 up-regulated in a Har mutant (ECR455) relative to wild-type. Twenty six of the down-regulated genes were previously found to be up-regulated in P. gingivalis grown as a biofilm and 11 were up-regulated under hemin limitation. A truncated Zn(II)Har bound the promoter region of dnaA (PGN_0001), one of the up-regulated genes in the ECR455 mutant. This binding decreased as hemin concentration increased which was consistent with gene expression being regulated by hemin availability. ECR455 formed significantly less biofilm than the wild-type and unlike wild-type biofilm formation was independent of hemin availability. P. gingivalis possesses a hemin-binding Fur orthologue that regulates hemin-dependent biofilm formation.

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