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EMBO Rep. 2010 Oct;11(10):798-804. doi: 10.1038/embor.2010.114. Epub 2010 Sep 3.

Helicobacter pylori HtrA is a new secreted virulence factor that cleaves E-cadherin to disrupt intercellular adhesion.

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  • 1Junior Research Group, Paul-Ehrlich Institute, Langen, Germany.


Mammalian and prokaryotic high-temperature requirement A (HtrA) proteins are chaperones and serine proteases with important roles in protein quality control. Here, we describe an entirely new function of HtrA and identify it as a new secreted virulence factor from Helicobacter pylori, which cleaves the ectodomain of the cell-adhesion protein E-cadherin. E-cadherin shedding disrupts epithelial barrier functions allowing H. pylori designed to access the intercellular space. We then designed a small-molecule inhibitor that efficiently blocks HtrA activity, E-cadherin cleavage and intercellular entry of H. pylori.

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