Gingipains (HRgpA, RgpB and Kgp) are cysteine proteinases and virulence factors of Porphyromonas gingivalis, the major causative bacterium of periodontal disease. To study synergistic effects of gingipains and signalling via Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and NOD1/2, we investigated effects of a gingipain on the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines from monocytic THP-1 cells in the presence of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Gingipains stimulated interleukin (IL)-8's secretion from THP-1 cells, which was completely inhibited by proteinase inhibitors of gingipain and increased in the presence of PAMPs. Synergistic effects of gingipains and PAMPs were also seen in the secretion of IL-6 and MCP-1 and reduced to about 50% the secretion of IL-8 from THP-1 cells treated with siRNA targeting either protease-activated receptor (PAR)-1, -2 or -3. PAR agonist peptides mimicked the synergistic effects of gingipains with PAMPs. These results indicate that gingipains stimulate the secretion of cytokines from monocytic cells through the activation of PARs with synergistic effects by PAMPs. This is the first report of synergism of signalling via PARs, and TLRs or NOD1/2. The host defence system against P.gingivalis may be triggered through the activation of PARs by gingipains and augmented by PAMPs from this pathogen via TLRs or NOD1/2.
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