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Science. 2000 Feb 25;287(5457):1497-500.

Translocation of Helicobacter pylori CagA into gastric epithelial cells by type IV secretion.

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Max von Pettenkofer Institute for Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, D-80336 Munich, Germany.


The Gram-negative bacterium Helicobacter pylori is a causative agent of gastritis and peptic ulcer disease in humans. Strains producing the CagA antigen (cagA(+)) induce strong gastric inflammation and are strongly associated with gastric adenocarcinoma and MALT lymphoma. We show here that such strains translocate the bacterial protein CagA into gastric epithelial cells by a type IV secretion system, encoded by the cag pathogenicity island. CagA is tyrosine-phosphorylated and induces changes in the tyrosine phosphorylation state of distinct cellular proteins. Modulation of host cells by bacterial protein translocation adds a new dimension to the chronic Helicobacter infection with yet unknown consequences.

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