Calcium Regulates the Activity and Structural Stability of Tpr, a Bacterial Calpain-like Peptidase.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Porphyromonas gingivalis is a peptide-fermenting asaccharolytic periodontal pathogen. Its genome contains several genes encoding cysteine peptidases other than gingipains. One of these genes (PG1055) encodes a protein called Tpr (thiol protease), which has sequence similarity to cysteine peptidases of the papain and calpain families. In this study, we biochemically characterize Tpr. We found that the 55 kDa Tpr inactive zymogen proteolytically processes itself into active forms of 48 kDa, 37 kDa, and 33 kDa via sequential truncations at the N-terminus. These processed molecular forms of Tpr are associated with the bacterial outer membrane, where they are likely responsible for the generation of metabolic peptides required for survival of the pathogen. Both autoprocessing and activity were dependent on calcium concentrations greater than 1 mM, consistent with the protein's activity within the intestinal and inflammatory milieus. Calcium also stabilized the Tpr structure and rendered the protein fully resistant to proteolytic degradation by gingipains. Together, our findings suggest that Tpr is an example of a bacterial calpain, a calcium-responsive peptidase that may generate substrates required for the peptide-fermenting metabolism of P. gingivalis. Aside from nutrient generation, Tpr may also be involved in evasion of host immune response through degradation of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 and complement proteins C3, C4 and C5. Taken together, these results indicate that Tpr likely represents an important pathogenesis factor for P. gingivalis.


  • Dominika Staniec
  • Miroslaw Ksiazek
  • Ida B Thøgersen
  • Jan J Enghild
  • Aneta Sroka
  • Danuta Bryzek
  • Matthew Bogyo
  • Magnus Abrahamson
  • Jan Potempa
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27248-27260
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch