Functional antagonism between Helicobacter pylori CagA and vacuolating toxin VacA in control of the NFAT signaling pathway in gastric epithelial cells.
ABSTRACT: Chronic infection with cagA-positive Helicobacter pylori is associated with the development of atrophic gastritis, peptic ulcers, and gastric adenocarcinoma. The cagA gene product CagA is injected into gastric epithelial cells, where it undergoes tyrosine phosphorylation by Src family kinases. Translocated CagA disturbs cellular functions by physically interacting with and deregulating intracellular signaling transducers through both tyrosine phosphorylation-dependent and -independent mechanisms. To gain further insights into the pathophysiological activities of CagA in gastric epithelial cells, we executed a genome-wide screening of CagA-responsive genes by using DNA microarray and identified nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) transcription factors whose binding sites were overrepresented in the promoter regions of CagA-activated genes. Results of reporter assays confirmed that CagA was capable of activating NFAT in a manner independent of CagA phosphorylation. Expression of CagA in gastric epithelial cells provoked translocation of NFATc3, a member of the NFAT family, from the cytoplasm to the nucleus and activated an NFAT-regulated gene, p21WAF1/Cip1. CagA-mediated NFAT activation was abolished by inhibiting calcineurin or phospholipase Cgamma activity. Furthermore, treatment of cells with H. pylori VacA (vacuolating toxin), which inhibits NFAT activity in T lymphocytes, counteracted the ability of CagA to activate NFAT in gastric epithelial cells. These findings indicate that the two major H. pylori virulence factors inversely control NFAT activity. Considering the pleiotropic roles of NFAT in cell growth and differentiation, deregulation of NFAT, either positively or negatively, depending on the relative exposure of cells to CagA and VacA, may contribute to the various disease outcomes caused by H. pylori infection.
Project description:Infection with Helicobacter pylori is responsible for gastritis and gastroduodenal ulcers but is also a high risk factor for the development of gastric adenocarcinoma and lymphoma. The most pathogenic H. pylori strains (i.e., the so-called type I strains) associate the CagA virulence protein with an active VacA cytotoxin but the rationale for this association is unknown. CagA, directly injected by the bacterium into colonized epithelium via a type IV secretion system, leads to cellular morphological, anti-apoptotic and proinflammatory effects responsible in the long-term (years or decades) for ulcer and cancer. VacA, via pinocytosis and intracellular trafficking, induces epithelial cell apoptosis and vacuolation. Using human gastric epithelial cells in culture transfected with cDNA encoding for either the wild-type 38 kDa C-terminal signaling domain of CagA or its non-tyrosine-phosphorylatable mutant form, we found that, depending on tyrosine-phosphorylation by host kinases, CagA inhibited VacA-induced apoptosis by two complementary mechanisms. Tyrosine-phosphorylated CagA prevented pinocytosed VacA to reach its target intracellular compartments. Unphosphorylated CagA triggered an anti-apoptotic activity blocking VacA-induced apoptosis at the mitochondrial level without affecting the intracellular trafficking of the toxin. Assaying the level of apoptosis of gastric epithelial cells infected with wild-type CagA(+)/VacA(+)H. pylori or isogenic mutants lacking of either CagA or VacA, we confirmed the results obtained in cells transfected with the CagA C-ter constructions showing that CagA antagonizes VacA-induced apoptosis. VacA toxin plays a role during H. pylori stomach colonization. However, once bacteria have colonized the gastric niche, the apoptotic action of VacA might be detrimental for the survival of H. pylori adherent to the mucosa. CagA association with VacA is thus a novel, highly ingenious microbial strategy to locally protect its ecological niche against a bacterial virulence factor, with however detrimental consequences for the human host.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the causative agent of gastric cancer, making it the only bacterium to be recognized as a Class I carcinogen by the World Health Organization. The virulence factor cytotoxin associated gene A (CagA) is a known oncoprotein that contributes to the development of gastric cancer. The other major virulence factor vacuolating cytotoxin A (VacA), disrupts endolysosomal vesicular trafficking and impairs the autophagy pathway. Studies indicate that there is a functional interplay between these virulence factors by unknown mechanisms. We show that in the absence of VacA, both host-cell autophagy and the proteasome degrade CagA during infection with H. pylori. In the presence of VacA, CagA accumulates in gastric epithelial cells. However, VacA does not affect proteasome function during infection with H. pylori suggesting that VacA-disrupted autophagy is the predominant means by which CagA accumulates. Our studies support a model where in the presence of VacA, CagA accumulates in dysfunctional autophagosomes providing a possible explanation for the functional interplay of VacA and CagA.
Project description:Histone modifications are critical in regulating gene expression, cell cycle, cell proliferation, and development. Relatively few studies have investigated whether Helicobacter pylori, the major cause of human gastric diseases, affects histone modification. We therefore investigated the effects of H. pylori infection on histone modifications in a global and promoter-specific manner in gastric epithelial cells. Infection of gastric epithelial cells by wild-type H. pylori induced time- and dose-dependent dephosphorylation of histone H3 at serine 10 (H3 Ser10) and decreased acetylation of H3 lysine 23, but had no effects on seven other specific modifications. Different cag pathogenicity island (PAI)-containing-clinical isolates showed similar abilities to induce H3 Ser10 dephosphorylation. Mutation of cagA, vacA, nonphosphorylateable CagA mutant cagA(EPISA), or disruption of the flagella showed no effects, while deletion of the entire cagPAI restored the H3 Ser10 phosphorylation to control levels. Analysis of 27 cagPAI mutants indicated that the genes that caused H3 Ser10 dephosphorylation were similar to those that were previously found to induce interleukin-8, irrespective of CagA translocation. This effect was independent of ERK or p38 pathways and type I interferon signaling. Additionally, c-Jun and hsp70 gene expression was associated with this histone modification. These results demonstrate that H. pylori alters histone modification and host response via a cagA-, vacA-independent, but cagPAI-dependent mechanisms, which contribute to its persistent infection and pathogenesis.
Project description:The Helicobacter pylori toxin vacuolating cytotoxin (VacA) promotes gastric colonization, and its presence (VacA(+)) is associated with more-severe disease. The exact mechanisms by which VacA contributes to infection are unclear. We previously found that limited exposure to VacA induces autophagy of gastric cells, which eliminates the toxin; we investigated whether autophagy serves as a defense mechanism against H pylori infection.We investigated the effect of VacA on autophagy in human gastric epithelial cells and primary gastric cells from mice. Expression of p62, a marker of autophagy, was also assessed in gastric tissues from patients infected with toxigenic (VacA(+)) or nontoxigenic strains. We analyzed the effect of VacA on autophagy in peripheral blood monocytes obtained from subjects with different genotypes of ATG16L1, which regulates autophagy. We performed genotyping for ATG16L1 in 2 cohorts of infected and uninfected subjects.Prolonged exposure of human gastric epithelial cells and mouse gastric cells to VacA disrupted induction of autophagy in response to the toxin, because the cells lacked cathepsin D in autophagosomes. Loss of autophagy resulted in the accumulation of p62 and reactive oxygen species. Gastric biopsy samples from patients infected with VacA(+), but not nontoxigenic strains of H pylori, had increased levels of p62. Peripheral blood monocytes isolated from individuals with polymorphisms in ATG16L1 that increase susceptibility to Crohn's disease had reduced induction of autophagy in response to VacA(+) compared to cells from individuals that did not have these polymorphisms. The presence of the ATG16L1 Crohn's disease risk variant increased susceptibility to H pylori infection in 2 separate cohorts.Autophagy protects against infection with H pylori; the toxin VacA disrupts autophagy to promote infection, which could contribute to inflammation and eventual carcinogenesis.
Project description:The presence of various numbers of EPIYA tyrosine phosphorylation motifs in the CagA protein of Helicobacter pylori has been suggested to contribute to pathogenesis in adults. In this prospective study, we characterized H. pylori isolates from symptomatic children, with reference to the diversity of functional EPIYA motifs in the CagA protein and vacA isotypes, and assessed the potential correlation with the histopathological manifestations of the infection. We analyzed 105 H. pylori isolates from 98 children and determined the diversity of EPIYA motifs in CagA by amplification and sequencing of the 3' variable region of the cagA gene as well as vacA isotypes for the signal, middle, and intermediate regions. CagA phosphorylation and levels of secreted IL-8 were determined following in vitro infection of AGS gastric epithelial cells. Histopathological evaluation of H. pylori colonization, activity, and severity of the associated gastritis was performed according to the updated Sydney criteria. EPIYA A (GLKN[ST]EPIYAKVNKKK), EPIYA B (Q[V/A]ASPEPIY[A/T]QVAKKVNAKI), and EPIYA C (RS[V/A]SPEPIYATIDDLG) motifs were detected in the ABC (46.6%) and ABCC (17.1%) combinations. No isolates harboring more than two EPIYA C motifs in CagA were found. The presence of isogenic strains with variable numbers of CagA EPIYA C motifs within the same patient was detected in seven cases. Occurrence of increasing numbers of EPIYA C motifs correlated strongly with presence of a high-vacuolation (s1 or s2/i1/m1) phenotype and age. A weak positive correlation was observed between vacuolating vacA genotypes and presence of nodular gastritis. However, CagA- and VacA-dependent pathogenicities were not found to contribute to severity of histopathology manifestations in H. pylori-infected children.
Project description:Recent evidence indicates that the secreted Helicobacter pylori vacuolating toxin (VacA) inhibits the activation of T cells. VacA blocks IL-2 secretion in transformed T cell lines by suppressing the activation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT). In this study, we investigated the effects of VacA on primary human CD4(+) T cells. VacA inhibited the proliferation of primary human T cells activated through the T cell receptor (TCR) and CD28. VacA-treated Jurkat T cells secreted markedly diminished levels of IL-2 compared with untreated cells, whereas VacA-treated primary human T cells continued to secrete high levels of IL-2. Further experiments indicated that the VacA-induced inhibition of primary human T cell proliferation was not attributable to VacA effects on NFAT activation or IL-2 secretion. We show here that VacA suppresses IL-2-induced cell-cycle progression and proliferation of primary human T cells without affecting IL-2-dependent survival. Through the analysis of a panel of mutant VacA proteins, we demonstrate that VacA-mediated inhibition of T cell proliferation requires an intact N-terminal hydrophobic region necessary for the formation of anion-selective membrane channels. Remarkably, we demonstrate that one of these mutant VacA proteins [VacA-Delta(6-27)] abrogates the immunosuppressive actions of wild-type VacA in a dominant-negative fashion. We suggest that VacA may inhibit the clonal expansion of T cells that have already been activated by H. pylori antigens, thereby allowing H. pylori to evade the adaptive immune response and establish chronic infection.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the human stomach pathogen, lives on the inner surface of the stomach and causes chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, and gastric cancer. Plasma membrane repair response is a matter of life and death for human cells against physical and biological damage. We here test the hypothesis that H. pylori also causes plasma membrane disruption injury, and that not only a membrane repair response but also a cell proliferation response are thereby activated. Vacuolating cytotoxin A (VacA) and cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA) have been considered to be major H. pylori virulence factors. Gastric cancer cells were infected with H. pylori wild type (vacA+/cagA+), single mutant (?vacA or ?cagA) or double mutant (?vacA/?cagA) strains and plasma membrane disruption events and consequent activation of membrane repair components monitored. H. pylori disrupts the host cell plasma membrane, allowing localized dye and extracellular Ca(2+) influx. Ca(2+)-triggered members of the annexin family, A1 and A4, translocate, in response to injury, to the plasma membrane, and cell surface expression of an exocytotic maker of repair, LAMP-2, increases. Additional forms of plasma membrane disruption, unrelated to H. pylori exposure, also promote host cell proliferation. We propose that H. pylori activation of a plasma membrane repair is pro-proliferative. This study might therefore provide new insight into potential mechanisms of H. pylori-induced gastric carcinogenesis.
Project description:Colonization of the human stomach with Helicobacter pylori is a risk factor for peptic ulceration, noncardia gastric adenocarcinoma, and gastric lymphoma. The secreted VacA toxin is an important H. pylori virulence factor that causes multiple alterations in gastric epithelial cells and T cells. Several families of vacA alleles have been described, and H. pylori strains containing certain vacA types (s1, i1, and m1) are associated with an increased risk of gastric disease, compared to strains containing other vacA types (s2, i2, and m2). Thus far, there has been relatively little study of the role of the VacA intermediate region (i-region) in toxin activity. In this study, we compared the ability of i1 and i2 forms of VacA to cause functional alterations in Jurkat cells. To do this, we manipulated the chromosomal vacA gene in two H. pylori strains to introduce alterations in the region encoding the VacA i-region. We did not detect any differences in the capacity of i1 and i2 forms of VacA to cause vacuolation of RK13 cells. In comparison to i1 forms of VacA, i2 forms of VacA had a diminished capacity to inhibit the activation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and suppress interleukin-2 (IL-2) production. Correspondingly, i2 forms of VacA bound to Jurkat cells less avidly than did i1 forms of VacA. These results indicate that the VacA i-region is an important determinant of VacA effects on human T cell function.
Project description:Infection with Helicobacter pylori strains containing high number of EPIYA-C phosphorylation sites in the CagA is associated with significant gastritis and increased risk of developing pre-malignant gastric lesions and gastric carcinoma. However, these findings have not been reproduced in animal models yet. Therefore, we investigated the effect on the gastric mucosa of Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) infected with CagA-positive H. pylori strains exhibiting one or three EPIYA-C phosphorilation sites. Mongolian gerbils were inoculated with H. pylori clonal isolates containing one or three EPIYA-C phosphorylation sites. Control group was composed by uninfected animals challenged with Brucella broth alone. Gastric fragments were evaluated by the modified Sydney System and digital morphometry. Clonal relatedness between the isolates was considered by the identical RAPD-PCR profiles and sequencing of five housekeeping genes, vacA i/d region and of oipA. The other virulence markers were present in both isolates (vacA s1i1d1m1, iceA2, and intact dupA). CagA of both isolates was translocated and phosphorylated in AGS cells. After 45 days of infection, there was a significant increase in the number of inflammatory cells and in the area of the lamina propria in the infected animals, notably in those infected by the CagA-positive strain with three EPIYA-C phosphorylation sites. After six months of infection, a high number of EPIYA-C phosphorylation sites was associated with progressive increase in the intensity of gastritis and in the area of the lamina propria. Atrophy, intestinal metaplasia, and dysplasia were also observed more frequently in animals infected with the CagA-positive isolate with three EPIYA-C sites. We conclude that infection with H. pylori strain carrying a high number of CagA EPIYA-C phosphorylation sites is associated with more severe gastric lesions in an animal model of H. pylori infection.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori induces cell death by apoptosis. However, the apoptosis-inducing factor is still unknown. The virulence factor vacuolating cytotoxin A (VacA) is a potential candidate, and thus its role in apoptosis induction was investigated in the human gastric epithelial cell line AGS. The supernatant from the vacA wild-type strain P12 was able to induce apoptotic cell death, whereas the supernatant from its isogenic mutant strain P14 could not. That VacA was indeed the apoptosis-inducing factor was demonstrated further by substantial reduction of apoptosis upon treatment of AGS cells with a supernatant specifically depleted of native VacA. Furthermore, a recombinant VacA produced in Escherichia coli was also able to induce apoptosis in AGS cells but failed to induce cellular vacuolation. These findings demonstrate that the vacuolating cytototoxin of H. pylori is a bacterial factor capable of inducing apoptosis in gastric epithelial cells.