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Can J Microbiol. 2014 Jan;60(1):35-9. doi: 10.1139/cjm-2013-0747. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Lipopolysaccharide glycotyping of clarithromycin-resistant and clarithromycin-susceptible Canadian isolates of Helicobacter pylori.

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  • 1a National Research Council Canada, 100 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON K1A 0R6, Canada.


Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Helicobacter pylori exhibits several unique structures, such as Lewis (Le) antigens, α-1,6-glucan, and dd-heptan. To investigate the relationship between LPS structure and resistance to clarithromycin, 41 Canadian isolates of H. pylori were characterized by whole-cell ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), sugar analysis, immunoblotting, and indirect immunofluorescence. The expression of type 2 Lewis X and (or) Lewis Y antigens was detected in 22 of 23 (95.7%) clarithromycin-resistant and in 14 of 18 (77.7%) clarithromycin-susceptible H. pylori strains (P < 0.05), and 8 isolates co-expressed type 1 and type 2 Le antigens (8/41, 19.5%). A significantly higher frequency of α-1,6-glucan (P < 0.01) was detected in clarithromycin-resistant strains than in clarithromycin-susceptible strains (19/23 (82.6%) versus 11/18 (61.1%)). Sugar analysis of selected α-1,6-glucan-positive H. pylori strains confirmed that they frequently contained elevated amounts of dd-heptose. Clarithromycin-resistant isolates were also characterized by low expression levels or absence of CagA (17/23, 73.9%). Indirect immunofluorescence studies carried out on selected H. pylori strains with rabbit immune sera specific for α-1,6-glucan confirmed broad recognition of α-1,6-glucan epitope. The binding was not affected by LPS glycotype of H. pylori isolates examined nor by their CagA status or resistance to clarithromycin. These findings suggest α-1,6-glucan as a potential vaccine target, especially in an era of increasing clarithromycin resistance in H. pylori.

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