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Infect Immun. 2003 Jun;71(6):3529-39.

pH-regulated gene expression of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford School of Medicine, California 94305, USA.


Colonization by the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori has been shown to be intricately linked to the development of gastritis, ulcers, and gastric malignancy. Little is known about mechanisms employed by the bacterium that help it adapt to the hostile environment of the human stomach. In an effort to extend our knowledge of these mechanisms, we utilized spotted-DNA microarrays to characterize the response of H. pylori to low pH. Expression of approximately 7% of the bacterial genome was reproducibly altered by shift to low pH. Analysis of the differentially expressed genes led to the discovery that acid exposure leads to profound changes in motility of H. pylori, as a larger percentage of acid-exposed bacterial cells displayed motility and moved at significantly higher speeds. In contrast to previous publications, we found that expression of the bacterial virulence gene cagA was strongly repressed by acid exposure. Furthermore, this transcriptional repression was reflected at the level of protein accumulation in the H. pylori cell.

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