Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) is a Gram-negative anaerobic bacterium and a causative agent of periodontitis. Studies assessing the host inflammatory response to P. gingivalis have demonstrated that Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2 is the predominant TLR involved in the recognition of LPS and various other microbe-associated molecular patterns of P. gingivalis. However, the underlying cell-signaling pathways, especially the intracellular regulatory molecules, regulating the P. gingivalis (TLR2)-mediated inflammatory response are not fully understood. Using siRNA and Cre/loxP system, we have, for the first time, identified that serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1) suppresses P. gingivalis-mediated inflammatory responses in innate immune cells. SGK1 is a ubiquitous serine/theronine kinase belonging to AGC kinase family (Protein kinase A, -G and -C family) and can be activated by PI3 kinase. Whereas the PI3K-Akt-GSK3-? pathway has been demonstrated to play a critical regulatory role in TLR-mediated inflammatory responses, the functional role of SGK1 in TLR-mediated immune responses is entirely unknown. Therefore, the studies proposed here are intend to identify and characterize how SGK1 regulates P. gingvalis induced inflammatory mediators, as well as to delineate how the TLRs are involved in the phosphorylation and activation of SGK1. We hypothesize SGK1 is a critical kinase that controls inflammation of innate immune cells upon stimulation with P. gingivalis by regulating activation of Forkhead box protein O1 (FoxO1) and its downstream CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta (C/EBP-?). This hypothesis is further substantiated by (i) the prediction of phosphorylation sites (by the software NetworKIN) identified FoxO1 as the optimum substrate of SGK1;(ii) our preliminary data showing that P. gingivalis stimulation phospho-activates SGK1 and abolishes the binding of FoxO1 to the promoter of C/EBP-? in BMDC;and (iii) our recent publication demonstrating that PDK2 inhibition mediates FoxO1 nuclear sequestration and enhances TLR4 mediated inflammatory responses in innate immune cells (15). These observations provide a strong rationale for SGK1 in modulating P. gingivalis mediated inflammatory response via the TLR2-SGK1-FoxO1-C/EBP-? axis.
The specific aims will establish the role for SGK1 as an endogenous inhibitor of the P. gingivalis-mediated inflammatory response and delineate how SGK1 is activated in response to P. gingivalis stimulation, as well as determine if SGK1 negatively regulates P. gingivalis induced pro-inflammatory cytokines production via modification of the activity of FoxO1 and its downstream C/EBP-? . Successful completion of this project will result in the isolation a novel and potentiall critical signaling pathway (TLR2-PI3K-SGK1-FoxO1-C/EBP-? ) and greatly aid in the understanding of how the host inflammatory response is being regulated, which will pave the way for the development of immunoregulatory therapeutics that should have relevance well beyond the oral cavity.

Public Health Relevance

Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease and Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) is considered as a major causative agent. The host's immune response to P. gingivalis has been shown to play a fundamental role in the disease process by controlling the inflammatory response. Thus, identifying the intracellular molecule that controls the host inflammatory response and elucidating the related mechanisms are critical for developing potential therapeutic targets to control periodontitis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Oral, Dental and Craniofacial Sciences Study Section (ODCS)
Program Officer
Burgoon, Penny W
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Louisville
Schools of Dentistry
United States
Zip Code
Gao, Shegan; Li, Shuoguo; Duan, Xiaoxian et al. (2017) Inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3?) suppresses the progression of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma by modifying STAT3 activity. Mol Carcinog 56:2301-2316
Gao, Shegan; Li, Shuoguo; Ma, Zhikun et al. (2016) Presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis in esophagus and its association with the clinicopathological characteristics and survival in patients with esophageal cancer. Infect Agent Cancer 11:3
Wang, Huizhi; Graves 2nd, Mark W; Zhou, Huaxin et al. (2016) 2-Amino-4-(3,4-(methylenedioxy)benzylamino)-6-(3-methoxyphenyl)pyrimidine is an anti-inflammatory TLR-2, -4 and -5 response mediator in human monocytes. Inflamm Res 65:61-9
Gu, Zhen; Lamont, Gwyneth J; Lamont, Richard J et al. (2016) Resolvin D1, resolvin D2 and maresin 1 activate the GSK3? anti-inflammatory axis in TLR4-engaged human monocytes. Innate Immun 22:186-95
Duan, X; Gleason, R C; Li, F et al. (2016) Sex dimorphism in periodontitis in animal models. J Periodontal Res 51:196-202
Yin, Hui; Zhou, Huaxin; Kang, Yi et al. (2016) Syk negatively regulates TLR4-mediated IFN? and IL-10 production and promotes inflammatory responses in dendritic cells. Biochim Biophys Acta 1860:588-98
Wang, Qian; Sztukowska, Maryta; Ojo, Akintunde et al. (2015) FOXO responses to Porphyromonas gingivalis in epithelial cells. Cell Microbiol 17:1605-17
Zhou, Yun; Sztukowska, Maryta; Wang, Qian et al. (2015) Noncanonical activation of ?-catenin by Porphyromonas gingivalis. Infect Immun 83:3195-203
Hutcherson, J A; Bagaitkar, J; Nagano, K et al. (2015) Porphyromonas gingivalis RagB is a proinflammatory signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 agonist. Mol Oral Microbiol 30:242-52
Zhou, Huaxin; Gao, Shegan; Duan, Xiaoxian et al. (2015) Inhibition of serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 enhances TLR-mediated inflammation and promotes endotoxin-driven organ failure. FASEB J 29:3737-49

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications