Characterization of T Cell Responses to the RgpA-Kgp Proteinase-Adhesin Complexes of Porphyromonas gingivalis in BALB/c Mice Academic Article uri icon


  • Porphyromonas gingivalis is a Gram-negative bacterium strongly associated with chronic periodontitis, an inflammatory oral disease. A major virulence factor common to all characterized strains of P. gingivalis is the RgpA-Kgp proteinase-adhesin complexes (RgpA-Kgp complexes). In this study, we investigated T cell proliferative and cytokine responses to the RgpA-Kgp complexes and identified T cell epitopes in BALB/c mice utilizing Pepscan methodology. T cell proliferative responses were found to be predominantly directed toward the proteinase catalytic domains. Eleven T cell epitopes were identified using RgpA-Kgp-primed lymph node T cells (IL-4 dominant) and 21 using an RgpA-Kgp-specific T cell line (IFN-gamma dominant), with 5 T cell epitopes, including the immunodominant epitope peptide 22, common to both T cell populations. Peptide 22 ((439)ANYTAHGSETAWADP(453)) from the Kgp proteinase catalytic domain induced a Th2 cytokine response in mice, and peptide 22-primed T cells had a Th2 cytokine profile when stimulated with the RgpA-Kgp complexes. Truncation and alanine scanning of peptide 22 identified the minimum epitope ((442)TAHGSETAWA(451)), and residues His(444), Glu(447), and Trp(450) as critical for T cell proliferation. With a view to vaccine development, peptide 22 was incorporated into a synthetic peptide polymer. Peptide 22 polymer induced strong T cell proliferation and crossreactivity to native RgpA-Kgp complexes. In conclusion, we have identified a major T cell epitope of P. gingivalis and established that antigenicity of the T cell epitope is retained when delivered as a peptide polymer. The strategies employed here may have potential in the development of a synthetic peptide vaccine for P. gingivalis.


publication date

  • September 15, 2008