Helicobacter pylori moves through mucus by reducing mucin viscoelasticity.
ABSTRACT: The ulcer-causing gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori is the only bacterium known to colonize the harsh acidic environment of the human stomach. H. pylori survives in acidic conditions by producing urease, which catalyzes hydrolysis of urea to yield ammonia thus elevating the pH of its environment. However, the manner in which H. pylori is able to swim through the viscoelastic mucus gel that coats the stomach wall remains poorly understood. Previous rheology studies on gastric mucin, the key viscoelastic component of gastric mucus, indicate that the rheology of this material is pH dependent, transitioning from a viscous solution at neutral pH to a gel in acidic conditions. Bulk rheology measurements on porcine gastric mucin (PGM) show that pH elevation by H. pylori induces a dramatic decrease in viscoelastic moduli. Microscopy studies of the motility of H. pylori in gastric mucin at acidic and neutral pH in the absence of urea show that the bacteria swim freely at high pH, and are strongly constrained at low pH. By using two-photon fluorescence microscopy to image the bacterial motility in an initially low pH mucin gel with urea present we show that the gain of translational motility by bacteria is directly correlated with a rise in pH indicated by 2',7'-Bis-(2-Carboxyethyl)-5-(and-6)-carboxyfluorescein (BCECF), a pH sensitive fluorescent dye. This study indicates that the helicoidal-shaped H. pylori does not bore its way through the mucus gel like a screw through a cork as has previously been suggested, but instead achieves motility by altering the rheological properties of its environment.
Project description:In the body, mucus provides an important defense mechanism by limiting the penetration of pathogens. It is therefore also a major obstacle for the efficient delivery of particle-based drug carriers. The acidic stomach lining in particular is difficult to overcome because mucin glycoproteins form viscoelastic gels under acidic conditions. The bacterium Helicobacter pylori has developed a strategy to overcome the mucus barrier by producing the enzyme urease, which locally raises the pH and consequently liquefies the mucus. This allows the bacteria to swim through mucus and to reach the epithelial surface. We present an artificial system of reactive magnetic micropropellers that mimic this strategy to move through gastric mucin gels by making use of surface-immobilized urease. The results demonstrate the validity of this biomimetic approach to penetrate biological gels, and show that externally propelled microstructures can actively and reversibly manipulate the physical state of their surroundings, suggesting that such particles could potentially penetrate native mucus.
Project description:The protective barrier, lubricant, and clearance functions of mucus are intimately coupled to its microstructure and bulk rheology. Mucus gels consist of a network of mucin biopolymers along with lipids, salts, and other proteins and exhibit similar biochemical and physical properties across diverse mucosal surfaces. Nevertheless, mucus is exposed to a broad range of pH values throughout the human body. Protein functions are typically sensitive to small changes in pH, and prior investigations using reconstituted, purified mucin gels suggested mucus undergoes a transition from a low-viscosity liquid at neutral pH to a highly viscoelastic solid at low pH. We sought to determine whether those observations hold for fresh, minimally perturbed human mucus ex vivo by using different-sized muco-inert nanoparticles to probe microstructure and cone-and-plate rheometry to measure bulk rheology. We demonstrate that both the microstructure and bulk rheology of fresh, undiluted, and minimally perturbed cervicovaginal mucus exhibit relatively minor changes from pH 1-2 to 8-9, in marked contrast with the pH sensitivity of purified mucin gels. Our work also suggests additional components in mucus secretions, typically eliminated during mucin purification and reconstitution, may play an important role in maintaining the protective properties of mucus.
Project description:BACKGROUND: It has been proposed that a pathogenic effect of Helicobacter pylori is a weakening of the protective mucus barrier; however, this remains controversial. AIMS: To clarify the effects of H pylori infection on the mucus gel barrier in vivo. METHODS: Mucus gel polymeric structure and the thickness of the adherent mucus barrier were measured in endoscopic biopsy samples in subjects with and without H pylori infection. RESULTS: There was a significant 18% reduction in the proportion of polymeric gel forming mucin in the adherent mucus layer in H pylori positive compared with negative subjects. There was no change in the adherent mucus thickness between H pylori positive and negative subjects without gastric atrophy (mean (SD): 104 (26) micron, 106 (30) micron, respectively). There was however a significant reduction in mucus thickness in those H pylori positive subjects with underlying gastric atrophy (84 (13) micron, p=0.03) compared with those without atrophy. CONCLUSIONS: A partial breakdown in gel forming structure of the gastric mucus barrier does occur in H pylori infection per se but this is insufficient to cause a collapse of the mucus barrier.
Project description:Helical cell shape of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori has been suggested to promote virulence through viscosity-dependent enhancement of swimming velocity. However, H. pylori csd1 mutants, which are curved but lack helical twist, show normal velocity in viscous polymer solutions and the reason for their deficiency in stomach colonization has remained unclear. Characterization of new rod shaped mutants identified Csd4, a DL-carboxypeptidase of peptidoglycan (PG) tripeptide monomers and Csd5, a putative scaffolding protein. Morphological and biochemical studies indicated Csd4 tripeptide cleavage and Csd1 crosslinking relaxation modify the PG sacculus through independent networks that coordinately generate helical shape. csd4 mutants show attenuation of stomach colonization, but no change in proinflammatory cytokine induction, despite four-fold higher levels of Nod1-agonist tripeptides in the PG sacculus. Motility analysis of similarly shaped mutants bearing distinct alterations in PG modifications revealed deficits associated with shape, but only in gel-like media and not viscous solutions. As gastric mucus displays viscoelastic gel-like properties, our results suggest enhanced penetration of the mucus barrier underlies the fitness advantage conferred by H. pylori's characteristic shape.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori infection can result in non-ulcer dyspepsia (NUD), peptic ulcer disease (PUD), adenocarcinoma, and gastric lymphoma. H. pylori reside within the gastric mucus layer, mainly composed of mucins carrying an array of glycan structures that can serve as bacterial adhesion epitopes. The aim of the present study was to characterize the binding ability, adhesion modes, and growth of H. pylori strains from pediatric patients with NUD and PUD to gastric mucins. Our results showed an increased adhesion capacity of pediatric PUD H. pylori strains to human and rhesus monkey gastric mucins compared to the NUD strains both at neutral and acidic pH, regardless if the mucins were positive for Lewis b (Leb), Sialyl-Lewis x (SLex) or LacdiNAc. In addition to babA positive strains being more common among PUD associated strains, H. pylori babA positive strains bound more avidly to gastric mucins than NUD babA positive strains at acidic pH. Binding to Leb was higher among babA positive PUD H. pylori strains compared to NUD strains at neutral, but not acidic, pH. PUD derived babA-knockout mutants had attenuated binding to mucins and Leb at acidic and neutral pH, and to SLex and DNA at acidic pH. The results highlight the role of BabA-mediated adherence of pediatric ulcerogenic H. pylori strains, and points to a role for BabA in adhesion to charged structures at acidic pH, separate from its specific blood group binding activity.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Gastric gland mucin is important for maintaining the basic function of the gastric mucosa, protecting it from foreign substances and reducing the occurrence of gastric diseases. Exploring the phenotype of gastric gland mucus changes during the progression of gastric disease is of great clinical significance.<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 483 patients with different gastric diseases were collected in this study, including 82 superficial gastritis (SG), 81 atrophic gastritis (AG), 168 dysplasia (GD), and 152 gastric cancer (GC). Mucin staining was performed using HID-ABpH2.5-PAS method and was further grouped according to the mucin coloration.<h4>Results</h4>The phenotypic characteristics of mucin during disease progression were divided into neutral, acidic, and mucus-free types. Furthermore, acidic mucus can be divided into type I, type II, and type III. The SG group was dominated by neutral mucus (100%), and the AG was dominated by acid mucus (81.48%), which gradually increased with the severity of atrophy (<i>P</i> < 0.05). The GD and GC groups were dominated by mucus-free (43.45%, 78.29%), and as the degree of GD worsened, neutral and acidic mucus gradually decreased and mucus-free increased (<i>P</i> < 0.001). From the SG, AG, GD, and GC progression, neutral and acidic mucus gradually decreased, and mucus- free gradually increased. Acidic mucin revealed that type III (red-brown black) mucin was predominant in AG, GD, and GC, and increased with the degree of AG, GD, as well as the biological behavior of GC. In the lesion adjacent to high-grade GD or GC, type III acid mucin is predominant.<h4>Conclusion</h4>There were three mucin phenotypes in the process of gastric diseases. With the disease progression, the trend of phenotypic change was that neutral and acidic mucus gradually decreased and mucus-free increased. The appearance of type III mucin suggested a relatively serious phase of gastric diseases and may be a more suitable candidate for follow-up monitoring of patients with GC risk.
Project description:Luminal accumulation of viscous, poorly hydrated, and less transportable mucus has been associated with altered mucus rheology and reduced mucociliary clearance. These symptoms are some of the cardinal clinical manifestations found throughout major respiratory diseases as well as gastrointestinal and digestive disorders. Applications of current mucolytics may yield short-term improvements but are continuously challenged by undesirable side-effects. While nanoparticles (NPs) can interact with mucin polymers,whether functionalized NPs can rectify mucus rheology is unknown. Herein, we report that carboxyl-functionalized NPs (24 nm and 120 nm) dramatically reduced mucin gel size and accelerated mucin matrix hydration rate (diffusivity). Our results suggest that carboxyl-functionalized NPs disperse mucin gels possibly by enhancing network hydration. This report highlights the prospective usages of carboxyl-functionalized NPs as a novel mucus dispersant or mucolytic agent in adjusting mucus rheological properties and improving mucociliary transport to relieve clinical symptoms of patients suffering from relevant diseases.
Project description:<i>Helicobacter pylori</i> binds to the gastric mucin, MUC5AC, and to trefoil factor, TFF1, which has been shown to interact with gastric mucin. We examined the interactions of TFF1 and <i>H. pylori</i> with purified gastrointestinal mucins from different animal species and from humans printed on a microarray platform to investigate whether TFF1 may play a role in locating <i>H. pylori</i> in gastric mucus. TFF1 bound almost exclusively to human gastric mucins and did not interact with human colonic mucins. There was a strong correlation between binding of TFF1 and <i>H. pylori</i> to human gastric mucins, and between binding of both TFF1 and <i>H. pylori</i> to gastric mucins with that of <i>Griffonia simplicifolia</i> lectin-II, which is specific for terminal non-reducing ?- or ?-linked <i>N</i>-acetyl-d-glucosamine. These results suggest that TFF1 may help to locate <i>H. pylori</i> in a discrete layer of gastric mucus and hence restrain their interactions with epithelial cells.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori colonizes the mucus niche of the gastric mucosa and is a risk factor for gastritis, ulcers and cancer. The main components of the mucus layer are heavily glycosylated mucins, to which H. pylori can adhere. Mucin glycosylation differs between individuals and changes during disease. Here we have examined the H. pylori response to purified mucins from a range of tumor and normal human gastric tissue samples. Our results demonstrate that mucins from different individuals differ in how they modulate both proliferation and gene expression of H. pylori. The mucin effect on proliferation varied significantly between samples, and ranged from stimulatory to inhibitory, depending on the type of mucins and the ability of the mucins to bind to H. pylori. Tumor-derived mucins and mucins from the surface mucosa had potential to stimulate proliferation, while gland-derived mucins tended to inhibit proliferation and mucins from healthy uninfected individuals showed little effect. Artificial glycoconjugates containing H. pylori ligands also modulated H. pylori proliferation, albeit to a lesser degree than human mucins. Expression of genes important for the pathogenicity of H. pylori (babA, sabA, cagA, flaA and ureA) appeared co-regulated in response to mucins. The addition of mucins to co-cultures of H. pylori and gastric epithelial cells protected the viability of the cells and modulated the cytokine production in a manner that differed between individuals, was partially dependent of adhesion of H. pylori to the gastric cells, but also revealed that other mucin factors in addition to adhesion are important for H. pylori-induced host signaling. The combined data reveal host-specific effects on proliferation, gene expression and virulence of H. pylori due to the gastric mucin environment, demonstrating a dynamic interplay between the bacterium and its host.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori infects more than 50% of the worldwide population. It is mostly found deep in the gastric mucus lining of the stomach, being a major cause of peptic ulcers and gastric adenocarcinoma. To face the increasing resistance of H. pylori to antibiotics, antimicrobial nucleic acid mimics are a promising alternative. In particular, locked nucleic acids (LNA)/2'-OMethyl RNA (2'OMe) have shown to specifically target H. pylori, as evidenced by in situ hybridization. The success of in vivo hybridization depends on the ability of these nucleic acids to penetrate the major physical barriers-the highly viscoelastic gastric mucus and the bacterial cell envelope. We found that LNA/2'OMe is capable of diffusing rapidly through native, undiluted, gastric mucus isolated from porcine stomachs, without degradation. Moreover, although LNA/2'OMe hybridization was still successful without permeabilization and fixation of the bacteria, which is normally part of in vitro studies, the ability of LNA/2'OMe to efficiently hybridize with H. pylori was hampered by the presence of mucus. Future research should focus on developing nanocarriers that shield LNA/2'OMe from components in the gastric mucus, while remaining capable of diffusing through the mucus and delivering these nucleic acid mimics directly into the bacteria.