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Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Jun 1;28(11):1611-8.

Oxidative cellular damage associated with transformation of Helicobacter pylori from a bacillary to a coccoid form.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pathology, Osaka City University Medical School, Abeno, Osaka, Japan.


Exposure to unfavorable conditions results in the transformation of Helicobacter pylori, a gastric pathogen, from a bacillary form to a coccoid form. The mechanism and pathophysiological significance of this transformation remain unclear. The generation of the superoxide radical by H. pylori has previously been shown to inhibit the bactericidal action of nitric oxide, the concentration of which is relatively high in gastric juice. With the use of chemiluminescence probes, both the quality and quantity of reactive oxygen species generated by H. pylori have now been shown to change markedly during the transformation from the bacillary form to the coccoid form. The transformation of H. pylori was associated with oxidative modification of cellular proteins, including urease, an enzyme required for the survival of this bacterium in acidic gastric juice. Although the cellular abundance of urease protein increased during the transformation, the specific activity of the enzyme decreased and it underwent aggregation. Specific activities of both superoxide dismutase and catalase in H. pylori also decreased markedly during the transformation. The transformation of H. pylori was also associated with oxidative modification of DNA, as revealed by the generation of 8-hydroxyguanine, and subsequent DNA fragment. These observations indicate that oxidative stress elicited by endogenously generated reactive oxygen species might play an important role in the transformation of H. pylori from the bacillary form to the coccoid form.

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