Protein plays key role in infection by oral pathogen

March 24, 2014, Forsyth Institute

Scientists at Forsyth, along with a colleague from Northwestern University, have discovered that the protein, Transgultaminase 2 (TG2), is a key component in the process of gum disease. TG2 is widely distributed inside and outside of human cells. The scientists found that blocking some associations of TG2 prevents the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis (PG) from adhering to cells. This insight may one day help lead to novel therapies to prevent gum disease caused by PG.

Periodontal, or gum, disease is one of the most . In its more severe forms, such as periodontitis, it causes loss of the bone that supports the teeth. Approximately 65 million adults in the United States are affected by some form of the disease. PG is the major causative agent of periodontitis, and it may also be involved in the development of systemic diseases such as atherosclerosis and .

The findings in this study indicate that TG2 is a key mediator in Porphyromonas gingivalis infection. In this research, the scientific team examined the critical role that TG2 plays in enabling Porphyromonas gingivalis to adhere to cells. Using confocal microscopes, clusters of TG2 were found where the bacterium was binding to cells. When the team silenced the expression of TG2, Porphyromonas gingivalis was diminished.

This study, which will be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on March 24, 2014, was led by Dr. Heike Boisvert, Assistant Member of the Staff, Department of Microbiology at Forsyth. The work was done in collaboration with Dr. Laszlo Lorand from Northwestern University Feinberg Medical School and Dr. Margaret Duncan, Senior Member of Staff at The Forsyth Institute.

"Once established, Porphyromonas gingivalis is very hard to get rid of" said Boisvert. "The bacterium changes conditions in the surrounding environment to ensure perfect growth; unfortunately, those changes, if untreated, can result in a loss of supportive tissue for our teeth. Also, as has been recently reported, manipulations of host proteins by PG may be involved in the development of systemic diseases such as atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The more we know about the relationship of PG with us, the host, the better we can work on how to prevent disease and disease progression. " In the next phase of research, Boisvert will be examining TG2-knockout mice to test their susceptibility to Porphyromonas gingivalis infection and periodontal disease.

Explore further: Bacteria responsible for gum disease facilitates rheumatoid arthritis

More information: Transglutaminase 2 is essential for adherence of Porphyromonas gingivalis to host cells, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1402740111

Related Stories

Bacteria responsible for gum disease facilitates rheumatoid arthritis

September 12, 2013
Does gum disease indicate future joint problems? Although researchers and clinicians have long known about an association between two prevalent chronic inflammatory diseases - periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis ...

Gingivitis bacteria manipulate your immune system so they can thrive in your gums

January 3, 2013
A new research report published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows how the bacteria known for causing gum disease—Porphyromonas gingivalis—manipulates the body's immune system to disable normal processes that would ...

Research identifies potential link between macrophage response and chronic inflammatory disease

November 7, 2013
Tiny cells which have the ability to trigger the body's immune responses could be crucial to research into a number of chronic medical conditions, scientists have suggested.

Drug may guard against periodontitis, and related chronic diseases

November 8, 2013
A drug currently used to treat intestinal worms could protect people from periodontitis, an advanced gum disease, which untreated can erode the structures—including bone—that hold the teeth in the jaw. The research was ...

Gum disease four times as common in rheumatoid arthritis patients

August 8, 2012
Gum disease is not only four times as common among patients with the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis as it is among their healthy peers, but it also tends to be more severe, indicates a small study published online ...

External capsule protects gum disease-causing bacteria from immune response

November 17, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- The capsule of Porphyromonas gingivalis, the bacterium that causes gum disease, provides stealth, boosting the bacterium’s virulence, according to a paper published in the November Infection and ...

Recommended for you

Painless dental lasers can render teeth cavity-resistant

November 21, 2017
Almost as soon as lasers were invented in the 1960s, curious dentists wondered if these powerful forms of light could be used on teeth, though those early lasers were much too crude for any useful dental work.

Nanodiamonds show promise for aiding recovery from root canal

October 23, 2017
People who undergo root canals may soon have a tiny but powerful ally that could prevent infection after treatment.

Research shows aspirin could repair tooth decay

September 8, 2017
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered that aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay resulting in a reduction in the need for fillings. Currently about 7 million fillings are provided by the NHS ...

New dental imaging method uses squid ink to fish for gum disease

September 7, 2017
Squid ink might be a great ingredient to make black pasta, but it could also one day make getting checked for gum disease at the dentist less tedious and even painless. By combining squid ink with light and ultrasound, a ...

A new dental restoration composite proves more durable than the conventional material

August 21, 2017
Fewer trips to the dentist may be in your future, and you have mussels to thank.

Small molecule inhibitor prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model

August 10, 2017
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have created a small molecule that prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model. The inhibitor blocks the function of a key virulence enzyme in an oral bacterium, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.