Scientific reports

The peptidylarginine deiminase gene is a conserved feature of Porphyromonas gingivalis.

PMID 26403779


Periodontitis is an infective process that ultimately leads to destruction of the soft and hard tissues that support the teeth (the periodontium). Periodontitis has been proposed as a candidate risk factor for development of the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Porphyromonas gingivalis, a major periodontal pathogen, is the only known prokaryote expressing a peptidyl arginine deiminase (PAD) enzyme necessary for protein citrullination. Antibodies to citrullinated proteins (anti-citrullinated protein antibodies, ACPA) are highly specific for RA and precede disease onset. Objective of this study was to assess P. gingivalis PAD (PPAD) gene expression and citrullination patterns in representative samples of P. gingivalis clinical isolates derived from periodontitis patients with and without RA and in related microbes of the Porphyromonas genus. Our findings indicate that PPAD is omnipresent in P. gingivalis, but absent in related species. No significant differences were found in the composition and expression of the PPAD gene of P. gingivalis regardless of the presence of RA or periodontal disease phenotypes. From this study it can be concluded that if P. gingivalis plays a role in RA, it is unlikely to originate from a variation in PPAD gene expression.