The humoral immune responses of patients with periodontitis were evaluated to characterize the host response to Porphyromonas gingivalis. A sonic extract of P. gingivalis 381 from whole cells was fractionated by gel chromatography and ion-exchange chromatography. The fractionated extracts were evaluated by Western blot (immunoblot) analyses with patient sera. A dominant antigen was identified from the sonic extract with an apparent molecular mass of 53 kDa. The 53-kDa protein antigen (Ag53) was purified by affinity chromatography by using a monoclonal antibody. Ag53 was detected on the vesicle surface of P. gingivalis 381 by immunoelectron microscopy by using the monoclonal antibody and was detected as a major protein in the outer membrane and in vesicles by Western blot analysis. Monoclonal antibody cross-reactivity to Ag53 in the sonic extracts of P. gingivalis ATCC 33277, P. gingivalis 1021, and Porphyromonas endodontalis ATCC 35406 was revealed. Seventy-seven patients with periodontitis were examined for their responses to Ag53. Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) from 54 patients reacted strongly to Ag53; however, serum IgG from the remaining 23 patients did not exhibit detectable ractivity at all to Ag53, even though the patients had high serum IgG titers to the sonic extract. Ag53 is a new marker that represents an interesting aspect of the humoral immune response to P. gingivalis in patients with periodontitis.
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