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Protein plays key role in infection by oral pathogen

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Posted March 26, 2014

Scientists at Forsyth, along with a colleague from Northwestern University, have discovered that the protein, Transgultaminase 2 (TG2), is a key component in the process of gum disease. TG2 is widely distributed inside and outside of human cells. The scientists found that blocking some associations of TG2 prevents the bacteriaPorphyromonas gingivalis (PG) from adhering to cells. This insight may one day help lead to novel therapies to prevent gum disease caused by PG.

Periodontal, or gum, disease is one of the most common infectious diseases. In its more severe forms, such as periodontitis, it causes loss of the bone that supports the teeth. Approximately 65 million adults in the United States are affected by some form of the disease. PG is the major causative agent of periodontitis, and it may also be involved in the development of systemic diseases such as atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The findings in this study indicate that TG2 is a key mediator in Porphyromonas gingivalis infection. In this research, the scientific team examined the critical role that TG2 plays in enabling Porphyromonas gingivalis to adhere to cells. Using confocal microscopes, clusters of TG2 were found where the bacterium was binding to cells. When the team silenced the expression of TG2, Porphyromonas gingivalis was diminished.

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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