Although Porphyromonas gingivalis is known to utilize peptides preferentially, instead of free amino acids, as the source of energy and cell material, there is only limited information on what sizes and kinds of peptide this bacterium preferentially utilizes. In this study, therefore, we tested aspartate or glutamate monopolymers consisting of from 2 to 100 amino acids as metabolic substrates for P. gingivalis. The washed cells of P. gingivalis consumed aspartylaspartate and glutamylglutamate, and produced large amounts of ammonia and organic acids such as propionate and butyrate, while the cells formed only small amounts of end-products from aspartate, glutamate, and other peptides longer than a dipeptide. P. gingivalis also metabolized valylvaline and leucylleucine and produced isobutyrate and isovalerate, respectively, only in the presence of aspartylaspartate or glutamylglutamate. This suggests a metabolic linkage between these dipeptides. These results clearly indicate that P. gingivalis utilizes dipeptides preferentially as its metabolic substrates.
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