Single-step PCR amplification and enzyme restriction analysis of the entire Helicobacter pylori cytotoxin vacA gene for genetic variability studies.
ABSTRACT To monitor changes along the entire Helicobacter pylori vac A gene we carried out full-length single-step PCR amplification in 21 gastritis and gastric cancer isolates. HindIII restriction analysis led us to detect a > 400-bp internal insertion in vacA subsequently shown to be a direct 451-bp gene duplication. We found HindIII profiles for 16 genes that allowed their grouping into two restriction patterns that were related to theoretical profiles for previously sequenced Western genes. Comparisons with theoretical HindIII patterns for Japanese isolates appear suggestive of geographical H. pylori clonality. Full-length single-step PCR amplification seems suitable for quick restriction pattern assignment and detection of gene size changes.
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ABSTRACT: Some strains of Helicobacter pylori are known to produce an extracellular cytotoxin that causes vacuolization in various mammalian cells. In this study, we found that concentrated culture supernatants from four Helicobacter strains isolated from patients infected with the bacterium, but having normal gastric mucosa, lacked cytotoxic activity. We also show that a higher percentage of strains isolated from patients with polymorphonuclear leukocyte infiltration of gastric mucosa are toxin positive (78%) versus those isolated from patients lacking such infiltration (33%). In addition to examining the relationship between pathology and cytotoxic activity, we used the previously published N-terminal sequence of the protein to clone and characterize vacA, the structural gene encoding the cytotoxin. Briefly, three oligonucleotides capable of encoding the first nine amino acids corresponding to the sense strand and four oligonucleotides corresponding to the noncoding strand of the last seven known amino acids of the cytotoxin protein were made. They were used in all 12 possible combinations in 12 different PCR reactions, with DNA from a cytotoxin-positive strain as template. In four combinations, the expected 69-bp fragment was seen. The sequence of this 69-bp fragment confirmed that it encoded the known N-terminal sequence of the cytotoxin. This gene is capable of encoding a 136-kDa protein with a 33-amino-acid signal peptide, whereas the purified cytotoxin is only 87 kDa, suggesting processing in the C-terminal region of the protein. A single copy of the vacA gene encodes the cytotoxin in H. pylori. Consequently, the insertion of a kanamycin resistance marker in the vacA gene produced an isogenic mutant lacking the cytotoxic activity. This mutant provides genetic evidence that vacA encodes the cytotoxin. Sequence analysis of the DNA adjacent to the vacA gene demonstrated that this gene is next to a putative cysteinyl tRNA synthetase gene. From the sequence arrangement, we predict that there are no other genes transcribed together with vacA. We also show that five of seven cytotoxin-negative strains examined still carry the sequences encoding it whereas the other two have suffered a deletion of the vacA gene. We further show that in at least one cytotoxin-negative but vacA-positive strain (MO19), there are variations in the length of the vacA gene that could explain the cytotoxin-negative phenotype in this strain.Infection and Immunity 06/1994; 62(5):1557-65. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mucosal and systemic immunologic recognition of cagA by Helicobacter pylori-infected individuals is associated with peptic ulcer disease; however, in the laboratory, expression of cagA is subject to artificial conditions which may not accurately reflect the conditions in host tissues. Gastric antral and body biopsy specimens and serum for anti-H. pylori immunoglobulin G serology were obtained from 42 patients. Biopsy specimens were studied by histology, culture, and reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR). Oligonucleotide primers specific for H. pylori (16S rRNA, ureA, and cagA) were used to detect bacterial mRNA in gastric biopsy specimens. PCR was performed on DNA from corresponding H. pylori isolates to detect genomic 16S rRNA, ureA, and cagA. Of the 42 patients from whom clinical specimens were obtained, 25 were infected with H. pylori on the basis of both serology and histology or culture (i.e., tissue positive); 13 were negative by serology, histology, and culture; and 4 were positive by serology only. RT-PCR with 16S rRNA primers detected 24 of 25 tissue-positive and 0 of 17 tissue-negative patients (P < 0.001). RT-PCR with ureA primers detected 16 of 25 tissue-positive and 0 of 17 tissue-negative patients (P < 0.001). CagA mRNA was detected by RT-PCR in 14 of 25 gastric biopsy specimens in the tissue-positive group and in 0 of 17 gastric biopsy specimens in the tissue-negative group. PCR of genomic DNA for the presence of the cagA gene in the corresponding bacterial isolates correlated absolutely with cagA gene expression in gastric tissue. These results indicate that RT-PCR is a sensitive and specific method for the detection of the presence of H. pylori and the expression of H. pylori genes in human gastric tissue. Detection of H. pylori gene expression in vivo by this approach may contribute to improving the diagnosis and understanding the pathogenesis of H. pylori infections.Journal of Clinical Microbiology 01/1995; 33(1):28-32. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Approximately 50% of Helicobacter pylori strains produce a cytotoxin, encoded by vacA, that induces vacuolation of eukaryotic cells. Analysis of a clinically isolated tox- strain (Tx30a) indicated secretion of a 93-kDa product from a 3933-base pair vacA open reading frame. Characterization of 59 different H. pylori isolates indicated the existence of three different families of vacA signal sequences (s1a, s1b, and s2) and two different families of middle-region alleles (m1 and m2). All possible combinations of these vacA regions were identified, with the exception of s2/m1 (p < 0.001); this mosaic organization implies that recombination has occurred in vivo between vacA alleles. Type s1/m1 strains produced a higher level of cytotoxin activity in vitro than type s1/m2 strains; none of 19 type s2/m2 strains produced detectable cytotoxin activity. The presence of cagA (cytotoxin-associated gene A) was closely associated with the presence of vacA signal sequence type s1 (p < 0.001). Among patients with past or present peptic ulceration, 21 (91%) of 23 harbored type s1 strains compared with 16 (48%) of 33 patients without peptic ulcers; only 2 (10%) of 19 subjects harboring type s2 strains had past or present peptic ulcers (p < 0.005). Thus, specific vacA genotypes of H. pylori strains are associated with the level of in vitro cytotoxin activity as well as clinical consequences.Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/1995; 270(30):17771-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor