Open Access Open Badges Research article

The expression and regulation of matrix metalloproteinase-3 is critically modulated by Porphyromonas gingivalis lipopolysaccharide with heterogeneous lipid A structures in human gingival fibroblasts

Thanuja D K Herath1, Yu Wang2, Chaminda J Seneviratne1, Richard P Darveau3, Cun-Yu Wang4 and Lijian Jin1*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Dentistry, Periodontology, The University of Hong Kong, 34 Hospital Road, Hong Kong SAR, China

2 Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

3 School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

4 School of Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Microbiology 2013, 13:73  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-73

Published: 30 March 2013



Porphyromonas gingivalis lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a crucial virulence factor strongly associated with chronic periodontitis which is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. It exhibits remarkable heterogeneity containing tetra-(LPS1435/1449) and penta-(LPS1690) acylated lipid A structures. Human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs) as the main resident cells of human gingiva play a key role in regulating matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and contribute to periodontal homeostasis. This study investigated the expression and regulation of MMPs1-3 and tissue inhibitors of MMP-1 (TIMP-1) in HGFs in response to P. gingivalis LPS1435/1449 and LPS1690 and hexa-acylated E. coli LPS as a reference. The expression of MMPs 1–3 and TIMP-1 was evaluated by real-time PCR and ELISA.


The MMP-3 mRNA and protein were highly upregulated in P. gingivalis LPS1690- and E. coli LPS-treated cells, whereas no induction was observed in P. gingivalis LPS1435/1449-treated cells. On the contrary, the expression of MMP-1 and −2 was not significantly affected by P. gingivalis LPS lipid A heterogeneity. The TIMP-1 mRNA was upregulated in P. gingivalis LPS1435/1449- and E. coli LPS-treated cells. Next, signal transduction pathways involved in P. gingivalis LPS-induced expression of MMP-3 were examined by blocking assays. Blockage of p38 MAPK and ERK significantly inhibited P. gingivalis LPS1690-induced MMP-3 expression in HGFs.


The present findings suggest that the heterogeneous lipid A structures of P. gingivalis LPS differentially modulate the expression of MMP-3 in HGFs, which may play a role in periodontal pathogenesis.

Periodontal disease; P. gingivalis LPS; Lipid A heterogeneity; MMPs; Human gingival fibroblasts