Chronic infection with H. pylori is a well-documented risk factor for several forms of gastric cancer, but researchers have not yet determined the mechanisms by which specific bacterial factors contribute to cancer development. Nearly one-half of the world’s population is infected with H. pylori, and gastric cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death.
The new study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to show that a factor produced by the bacterium directly activates poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), an enzyme found primarily within the nucleus of animal cells. PARP-1 is a regulator of the host’s inflammatory response and host cell death, both of which are hallmarks of H. pylori infection.
PARP-1 is best known as a normal part of the cellular machinery that repairs damaged DNA. But in certain types of cancer this enzyme actually enhances tumor survival and undermines chemotherapies designed to damage DNA in cancer cells. A recent human clinical trial found that drugs that inhibited PARP-1 reduced tumor growth in breast-cancer patients with mutations in certain DNA-repair (BRCA-1 and BRCA-2) genes. BRCA-1 mutations also are associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer.
The new study tackled the most urgent health problem associated with H. pylori infection, said Steven Blanke, a University of Illinois professor in the department of microbiology and Institute for Genomic Biology and principal investigator on the study.
“What is it about sustained infection with H. pylori that leads in some cases to the development of stomach cancer?” he said.
Like other disease-causing bacteria, H. pylori have evolved to evade the body’s defenses and even modify host proteins to help the bacteria survive.
Blanke and his graduate student Carlos Nossa previously had demonstrated that a protein factor released by H. pylori modifies an unidentified host protein in a manner consistent with an enzymatic reaction known as ADP-ribosylation. Other bacterial toxins, including cholera toxin and diphtheria toxin “ADP-ribosylate” host proteins in ways that enhance the survival or transmission of the bacteria that produce them.
“We were very excited about this finding, which we published in 2006,” Blanke said. “We thought we had discovered a new toxin.”
ADP-ribosylation can be tracked by incorporating a radio-isotope of phosphorous (32P) into a small molecule that is required for the reaction. During ADP-ribosylation, H. pylori transfers the 32P from the labeled molecule to a host protein, thereby tagging it with a radioactive fingerprint. Further analyses revealed that the radio-labeled host protein was PARP-1.
At this point, the team believed that the bacterium was ADP-ribosylating PARP-1. But when they genetically altered the functional regions of PARP-1, they completely blocked the H. pylori-dependent modification. Since PARP-1 also possesses poly-ADP-ribosylation enzymatic activity, which is necessary for its regulatory and DNA-repair function in cells, the team realized that something in the H. pylori arsenal was directly activating the PARP-1 enzymatic activity, rather than ADP-ribosylating it as they first suspected.
Additional studies validated that H. pylori indeed activates PARP-1 during infection of human gastric cells.
“These studies potentially provide a direct molecular link between H. pylori infection and the activation of a factor known to be involved in the survival of cancerous cells,” Blanke said. “Although PARP-1 can potentially be activated indirectly as a host cell response to some infections, this is the first example of a bacterium that can activate PARP-1 directly, perhaps in this case as a mechanism for H. pylori to promote inflammation and/or the death of host cells during long-term infection.”
The researchers are working to identify the bacterial factor that activates PARP-1, which would be a promising target for drugs to treat or prevent the problems associated with long-term infection with H. pylori, Blanke said.
The team also included researchers from the University of Houston; Ecole Supérieure de Biotechnologie Strasbourg, Illkirch, France; and Laval University, Quebec.
This study was supported from a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Diana Yates | EurekAlert!
NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
21.03.2018 | Life Sciences