Methyl mercaptan production by oral bacteria is thought to be one of the main causes of oral malodor. We examined the ability of periodontopathic Porphyromonas gingivalis to produce methyl mercaptan from L-methionine and found that the invasive strains W83 and W50 produced large amounts of methyl mercaptan. We cloned and sequenced the mgl gene encoding L-methionine-α-deamino-γ-mercaptomethane-lyase (METase) from P. gingivalis W83. The structural mgl gene consisted of 1,200 bp and encoded a 43.3-kDa protein. To examine the role of methyl mercaptan in the pathogenesis of P. gingivalis, a METase-deficient mutant of P. gingivalis W83 was constructed. The methionine degradation activity and virulence of the mutant (M1217) and the parent strain (W83) in mice were compared. M1217 showed a marked decrease in the formation of methyl mercaptan from L-methionine and decreased virulence compared with the wild-type strain W83. These results suggest that methyl mercaptan not only is one of the sources of oral malodor, but may also play a role in the pathogenicity of P. gingivalis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases