Periodontitis is a response of highly vascularized tissues to the adjacent microflora of dental plaque. Progressive disease has been related to consortia of anaerobic bacteria, with the gram-negative organism Porphyromonas gingivalis particularly implicated. The gingipains, comprising a group of cysteine proteinases and associated hemagglutinin domains, are major virulence determinants of this organism. As vascular expression of leukocyte adhesion molecules is a critical determinant of tissue response to microbial challenge, the objective of this study was to determine the capacity of gingipains to modulate the expression and function of these receptors. Given the potential multifunctional role of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (PECAM-1) in the vasculature, the effect of gingipains on PECAM-1 expression by endothelial cells was examined. Activated gingipains preferentially down-regulated PECAM-1 expression on endothelial cells compared with vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and endothelial-leukocyte adhesion molecule 1, but the reduction in PECAM-1 expression was completely inhibited in the presence of the cysteine proteinase inhibitor TLCK (Nalpha-p-tosyl-l-lysine chloromethyl ketone). Endothelial monolayers treated with activated gingipains demonstrated progressive intercellular gap formation that correlated with reduced intercellular junctional PECAM-1 expression as determined by Western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. This was accompanied by enhanced transfer of both albumin and neutrophils across the monolayer. The results suggest that degradation of PECAM-1 by gingipains contributes to increased vascular permeability and neutrophil flux at disease sites.
Yun, P. L. W., DeCarlo, A. A., Chapple, C. C., & Hunter, N. (2005). Functional implication of the hydrolysis of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (CD31) by gingipains of Porphyromonas gingivalis for the pathology of periodontal disease. Infection and Immunity, 73(3), 1386-1398. https://doi.org/10.1128/IAI.73.3.1386-1398.2005