Depolarization of polymorphonuclear leukocytes by Porphyromonas (Bacteroides) gingivalis 381 in the absence of respiratory burst activation.
Bacteroides spp. may contribute to the chronicity of mixed infections by affecting the normal functions of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN). This study evaluated the physiologic and biochemical responses of human peripheral blood PMN to a variety of strains of the oral periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas (Bacteroides) gingivalis. Strain 381 and ATCC type strain 33277 caused rapid and lasting depolarization of the electrochemical potential that exists across the PMN membrane by a mechanism that was independent of activation of the pertussis toxin-sensitive G protein or protein kinase C. Membrane depolarization did not initiate increases in intracellular calcium or respiratory burst activation, and activity was not inhibited by surface proteolysis or sugars. However, membrane depolarization was associated with inhibition of PMN responses to the chemotactic peptide N-formylmethionyl leucyl phenylalanine. Membrane-depolarizing activity was isolated with the outer membrane of strain 381 by surface extraction of the bacteria by using Zwittergent 3,14, followed by Sephacryl S-200 gel filtration chromatography. The partially purified outer membrane components were heat stable, were not inhibited by tosyl-lysine chloromethyl ketone, and inhibited N-formylmethionyl leucyl phenylalanine-stimulated superoxide production. The results suggest that outer membrane components of P. gingivalis 381 and 33277 have porinlike activity that can depolarize PMN membranes and immobilize PMN responses to chemotactic peptides. This may prove to be an important virulence characteristic of these strains.
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