Infection and immunity

Identification of a diguanylate cyclase and its role in Porphyromonas gingivalis virulence.

PMID 24733094


Porphyromonas gingivalis is a Gram-negative obligate anaerobic bacterium and is considered a keystone pathogen in the initiation of periodontitis, one of the most widespread infectious diseases. Bacterial bis-(3'-5') cyclic GMP (cyclic di-GMP [c-di-GMP]) serves as a second messenger and is involved in modulating virulence factors in numerous bacteria. However, the role of this second messenger has not been investigated in P. gingivalis, mainly due to a lack of an annotation regarding diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) in this bacterium. Using bioinformatics tools, we found a protein, PGN_1932, containing a GGDEF domain. A deletion mutation in the pgn_1932 gene had a significant effect on the intracellular c-di-GMP level in P. gingivalis. Genetic analysis showed that expression of the fimA and rgpA genes, encoding the major protein subunit of fimbriae and an arginine-specific proteinase, respectively, was downregulated in the pgn_1932 mutant. Correspondingly, FimA protein production and the fimbrial display on the mutant were significantly reduced. Mutations in the pgn_1932 gene also had a significant impact on the adhesive and invasive capabilities of P. gingivalis, which are required for its pathogenicity. These findings provide evidence that the PGN_1932 protein is both responsible for synthesizing c-di-GMP and involved in biofilm formation and host cell invasion by P. gingivalis by controlling the expression and biosynthesis of FimA.