The Lysine-Specific Gingipain of Porphyromonas gingivalis

Importance to Pathogenicity and Potential Strategies for Inhibition
  • Tang Yongqing
  • Jan Potempa
  • Robert N. Pike
  • Lakshmi C. Wijeyewickrema
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 712)


Periodontitis is a disease affecting the supporting structures of the teeth. The most severe forms of the disease result in tooth loss and have recently been strongly associated with systemic diseases, including cardiovascular and lung diseases and cancer. The disease is caused by biofilms of predominantly anaerobic bacteria. A major pathogen associated with severe, adult forms of the disease is Porphyromonas gingivalis. This organism produces potent cysteine proteases known as gingipains, which have specificity for cleavage after arginine or lysine residues. The lysine-specific gingipain, Kgp, appears to be the major virulence factor of this organism and here we describe its structure and function. We also discuss the inhibitors of the enzyme produced to date and the potential pathways to newer versions of such molecules that will be required to combat periodontitis.


Cysteine Protease Tooth Loss Pathogenic Organism Porphyromonas Gingivalis Periodontal Pocket 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tang Yongqing
    • 1
  • Jan Potempa
    • 2
  • Robert N. Pike
    • 1
  • Lakshmi C. Wijeyewickrema
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and CRC for Oral Health SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Oral Health and Systemic Disease Research FacilityUniversity of Louisville School of DentistryLouisvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and BiotechnologyJagiellonian UniversityKrakowPoland

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