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Front Microbiol. 2017 Sep 6;8:1682. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01682. eCollection 2017.

Petri Net-Based Model of Helicobacter pylori Mediated Disruption of Tight Junction Proteins in Stomach Lining during Gastric Carcinoma.

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Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences, National University of Sciences and TechnologyIslamabad, Pakistan.
Research Center for Modeling & Simulation, National University of Sciences and TechnologyIslamabad, Pakistan.


Tight junctions help prevent the passage of digestive enzymes and microorganisms through the space between adjacent epithelial cells lining. However, Helicobacter pylori encoded virulence factors negatively regulate these tight junctions and contribute to dysfunction of gastric mucosa. Here, we have predicted the regulation of important tight junction proteins, such as Zonula occludens-1, Claudin-2 and Connexin32 in the presence of pathogenic proteins. Molecular events such as post translational modifications and crosstalk between phosphorylation, O-glycosylation, palmitoylation and methylation are explored which may compromise the integrity of these tight junction proteins. Furthermore, the signaling pathways disrupted by dysregulated kinases, proteins and post-translational modifications are reviewed to design an abstracted computational model showing the situation-dependent dynamic behaviors of these biological processes and entities. A qualitative hybrid Petri Net model is therefore constructed showing the altered host pathways in the presence of virulence factor cytotoxin-associated gene A, leading to the disruption of tight junction proteins. The model is qualitative logic-based, which does not depend on any kinetic parameter and quantitative data and depends on knowledge derived from experiments. The designed model provides insights into the tight junction disruption and disease progression. Model is then verified by the available experimental data, nevertheless formal in vitro experimentation is a promising way to ensure its validation. The major findings propose that H. pylori activated kinases are responsible to trigger specific post translational modifications within tight junction proteins, at specific sites. These modifications may favor alterations in gastric barrier and provide a route to bacterial invasion into host cells.


Helicobacter pylori; gastric cancer; petri net (PN) models; phosphorylation sites; post translational modifications (PTMs); tight junction (TJ) proteins

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