Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Characterization of hemin-binding protein 35 (HBP35) in Porphyromonas gingivalis: its cellular distribution, thioredoxin activity and role in heme utilization

Mikio Shoji1, Yasuko Shibata2, Teruaki Shiroza2, Hideharu Yukitake1, Benjamin Peng3, Yu-Yen Chen3, Keiko Sato1, Mariko Naito1, Yoshimitsu Abiko2, Eric C Reynolds3 and Koji Nakayama14*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Microbiology and Oral Infection, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki, Japan

2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Nihon University School of Dentistry at Matsudo, Chiba, Japan

3 Cooperative Research Centre for Oral Health Science, Melbourne Dental School, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

4 Global COE Program at Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan

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BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:152  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-152

Published: 25 May 2010



The periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis is an obligate anaerobe that requires heme for growth. To understand its heme acquisition mechanism, we focused on a hemin-binding protein (HBP35 protein), possessing one thioredoxin-like motif and a conserved C-terminal domain, which are proposed to be involved in redox regulation and cell surface attachment, respectively.


We observed that the hbp35 gene was transcribed as a 1.1-kb mRNA with subsequent translation resulting in three proteins with molecular masses of 40, 29 and 27 kDa in the cytoplasm, and one modified form of the 40-kDa protein on the cell surface. A recombinant 40-kDa HBP35 exhibited thioredoxin activity in vitro and mutation of the two putative active site cysteine residues abolished this activity. Both recombinant 40- and 27-kDa proteins had the ability to bind hemin, and growth of an hbp35 deletion mutant was substantially retarded under hemin-depleted conditions compared with growth of the wild type under the same conditions.


P. gingivalis HBP35 exhibits thioredoxin and hemin-binding activities and is essential for growth in hemin-depleted conditions suggesting that the protein plays a significant role in hemin acquisition.