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Porphyromonas gingivalis, an organism implicated in the etiology and pathogenesis of human periodontal diseases, produces a variety of potent proteolytic enzymes, and it has been suggested that these enzymes play a direct role in the destruction of periodontal tissues. We now report that two cell-associated cysteine proteinases of P. gingivalis W12, with molecular masses of approximately 150 kDa (porphypain-1) and 120 kDa (porphypain-2), as determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, have been separated and purified to apparent homogeneity. These proteinases appear to be SDS-stable conformational variants of a 180-kDa enzyme, and they are the largest cysteine proteinases yet purified from P. gingivalis. The purified proteinases hydrolyze fibrinogen, tosyl-Gly-L-Pro-L-Arg p-nitroanilide, and tosyl-Gly-L-Pro-L-Lys p-nitroanilide. While hydrolysis of both synthetic substrates by porphypain-1 and -2 requires activation by reducing agents, is inhibited by EDTA, and is stimulated in the presence of derivatives of glycine, the Arg-amidolytic activity is sensitive to leupeptin and H-D-tyrosyl-L-prolyl-L-arginyl chloromethyl ketone, whereas the Lys-amidolytic activity is sensitive to tosyl-L-lysyl chloromethyl ketone and insensitive to leupeptin. These data suggest that porphypains contain two types of active sites. These cell-associated P. gingivalis proteinases may contribute significantly and directly to periodontal tissue destruction.