Departmental Papers (Dental)

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Journal Article

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Cellular Microbiology





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Porphyromonas gingivalis is an oral bacterium that causes pathology in a number of dental infections that are associated with increased fibroblast cell death. Studies presented here demonstrated that P. gingivalis stimulates cell death by apoptosis rather than necrosis. Unlike previous studies apoptosis was induced independent of proteolytic activity and was also independent of caspase activity because a pan-caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD-fmk, had little effect. Moreover, P. gingivalis downregulated caspase-3 mRNA levels and caspase-3 activity. The consequence of this downregulation was a significant reduction in tumour necrosis factor-α-induced apoptosis, which is caspase-3-dependent. Immunofluorescence and immunoblot analysis revealed P. gingivalis-induced translocation of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. siRNA studies were undertaken and demonstrated that P. gingivalis stimulated cell death was significantly reduced when AIF was silenced (P < 0.05). Treatment of human gingival fibroblasts with H-89, a protein kinase A inhibitor that blocks AIF activation also reduced P. gingivalis-induced apoptosis (P < 0.05). These results indicate that P. gingivalis causes fibroblast apoptosis through a pathway that involves protein kinase A and AIF, is not dependent upon bacterial proteolytic activity and is also independent of the classic apoptotic pathways involving caspase-3.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Desta, T., & Graves, D. T. (2007). Fibroblast apoptosis induced by Porphyromonas gingivalis is stimulated by a gingipain and caspase-independent pathway that involves apoptosis-inducing factor. Cellular Microbiology, 9(11), 2667–2675., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving [].

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Dentistry Commons



Date Posted: 10 August 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.