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J Bacteriol. 2010 Jun;192(12):3078-92. doi: 10.1128/JB.00063-10. Epub 2010 Apr 16.

Host-interactive genes in Amerindian Helicobacter pylori diverge from their Old World homologs and mediate inflammatory responses.

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Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Tech, 1 Washington Street, Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA.


Helicobacter pylori is the dominant member of the gastric microbiota and has been associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer and peptic ulcers in adults. H. pylori populations have migrated and diverged with human populations, and health effects vary. Here, we describe the whole genome of the cag-positive strain V225d, cultured from a Venezuelan Piaroa Amerindian subject. To gain insight into the evolution and host adaptation of this bacterium, we undertook comparative H. pylori genomic analyses. A robust multiprotein phylogenetic tree reflects the major human migration out of Africa, across Europe, through Asia, and into the New World, placing Amerindian H. pylori as a particularly close sister group to East Asian H. pylori. In contrast, phylogenetic analysis of the host-interactive genes vacA and cagA shows substantial divergence of Amerindian from Old World forms and indicates new genotypes (e.g., VacA m3) involving these loci. Despite deletions in CagA EPIYA and CRPIA domains, V225d stimulates interleukin-8 secretion and the hummingbird phenotype in AGS cells. However, following a 33-week passage in the mouse stomach, these phenotypes were lost in isolate V225-RE, which had a 15-kb deletion in the cag pathogenicity island that truncated CagA and eliminated some of the type IV secretion system genes. Thus, the unusual V225d cag architecture was fully functional via conserved elements, but the natural deletion of 13 cag pathogenicity island genes and the truncation of CagA impaired the ability to induce inflammation.

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