The PorX/PorY system is a virulence factor of Porphyromonas gingivalis and mediates the activation of the type IX secretion system

Dezhi Yang, Chizhou Jiang, Bo Ning, Wei Kong, Yixin Shi

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3 Scopus citations


PorX/PorY is a two-component system (TCS) of Porphyromonas gingivalis that governs transcription of numerous genes including those encoding a type IX secretion system (T9SS) for gingipain secretion and heme accumulation. Here, an in vitro analysis showed that the response regulator PorX specifically bound to two regions in the promoter of porT, a known PorX-regulated T9SS gene, thus demonstrating that PorX/PorY can directly regulate specific target genes. A truncated PorX protein containing the N-terminal receiver and effector domains retained a wild-type ability in both transcription regulation and heme accumulation, ruling out the role of the C-terminal ALP domain in gene regulation. The PorX/PorY system was the only TCS essential for heme accumulation and concomitantly responded to hemin to stimulate transcription of several known PorX-dependent genes in a concentration-dependent manner. We found that PorX/PorY activated the sigH gene, which encodes a sigma factor known for P. gingivalis adaptation to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Consistently, both ΔporX and ΔsigH mutants were susceptible to H2O2, suggesting a PorX/PorY-σH regulatory cascade to confer resistance to oxidative stress. Furthermore, the ΔporX mutant became susceptible to high hemin levels that could induce oxidative stress. Therefore, a possible reason why hemin activates PorX/PorY is to confer resistance to hemin-induced oxidative stress. We also demonstrated that PorX/PorY was essential for P. gingivalis virulence because the ΔporX mutant was avirulent in a mouse model. Specifically, this TCS was required for the repression of proinflammatory cytokines secreted by dendritic cells and T cells in the P. gingivalis- infected mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA27
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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