The gingipains: scissors and glue of the periodontal pathogen,Porphyromonas gingivalis Academic Article uri icon


  • The anaerobic bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, is associated with chronic periodontal disease (periodontitis or gum disease). The disease is not only the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world, but is associated with a number of systemic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The most potent virulence factors of this bacterium are the gingipains, three cysteine proteases that bind and cleave a wide range of host proteins. This article summarizes current knowledge of the structure and function of the enzymes, with a particular focus on what remains to be elucidated regarding the structure and function of the nonenzymatic adhesin domains of the high-molecular-weight forms of the proteases.

publication date

  • May 2009