Porphyromonas gingivalis is a black-pigmented anaerobic gram-negative bacterium that is a major pathogen of chronic adult periodontitis, an inflammatory disease of toothsupporting tissues. P. gingivalis possesses a number of potential virulence factors. Among them, cell-surface-associated and secreted proteinases such as Arg-gingipain and Lys-gingipain have received much attention because they can degrade various host proteins and cause inflammation. Molecular genetic analysis is extremely powerful to evaluate the significance of each virulence factor in a pathogenic microorganism. This review will describe the introduction of molecular genetics to analysis of pathogenesis of P. gingivalis and the findings that have been obtained using knockout mutants of various potential virulence factors, especially proteinases.
Keywords: molecular genetics, porphyromonas gingivalis, gingipains, virulence factors, chronic adult periodontitis, toothsupporting tissues, arg-gingipain, lys-gingipain, proteinases
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