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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Functional variability of cagA gene in Japanese isolates of Helicobacter pylori.

CagA protein of Helicobacter pylori is injected into the epithelium, where CagA undergoes tyrosine phosphorylation and activates proliferation signals. However, the importance of these CagA activities for pathogenesis has yet to be resolved. The aim of this study is to analyze the genetic and functional variability of cagA gene of clinical strains in relation to gastric diseases. Thirty-six H. pylori strains were isolated from Japanese patients with various gastric diseases and examined. All 36 strains were found to contain cagA and cagE gene and to induce CagA phosphorylation upon infection. The intensity of CagA phosphorylation expressed in HeLa cells by transfection was highly correlated to the number of R1 region. The phosphorylation intensity was slightly higher in strains from chronic atrophic gastritis (CG); however, the differences were not statistically significant. These CagA proteins also activated the serum response element (SRE) reporter by 5- to 14-fold, above the level of the control. CagA proteins which lack R2 or R3 region exhibited smaller ability for SRE activation. The average of SRE activation was slightly higher in strains from cases of gastric cancer (GC; 11.4+/-1.6), MALT lymphoma (ML; 10.7+/-1.0), and chronic atrophic gastritis (CG; 11.2+/-1.6) than in those of duodenal ulcer (DU; 8.3+/-1.9) or gastric ulcer (GU; 9.0+/-1.1). In summary, most Japanese H. pylori strains contained CagA transport system and induced CagA phosphorylation, and the levels of the intensity of phosphorylation and the ability to induce SRE varied among strains. Although the association between CagA activities and disease outcome shown in this study is not very strong, variety of CagA structure, which induces variable activities, may be one of the reasons why H. pylori induces distinct diseases on host.[1]


  1. Functional variability of cagA gene in Japanese isolates of Helicobacter pylori. Hirata, Y., Yanai, A., Shibata, W., Mitsuno, Y., Maeda, S., Ogura, K., Yoshida, H., Kawabe, T., Omata, M. Gene (2004) [Pubmed]
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