Send to

Choose Destination
Med Microbiol Immunol. 1998 Mar;186(4):177-87.

Hemolytic properties and riboflavin synthesis of Helicobacter pylori: cloning and functional characterization of the ribA gene encoding GTP-cyclohydrolase II that confers hemolytic activity to Escherichia coli.

Author information

Institute of Medical Microbiology, Department of Microbiology and Hygiene, Freiburg, Germany.


Various strains of Helicobacter pylori were able to lyse erythrocytes from sheep, horse, and human when grown on blood agar. The hemolysis did not depend on the production of the vacuolating cytotoxin VacA as demonstrated by the hemolytic behavior of an isogenic vacA-negative mutant strain. The hemolytic activity could be detected in cell-free supernatants and was not regulated by iron. To isolate genes coding for proteins involved in the destruction of erythrocytes, a plasmid-based DNA library was screened for expression of lytic activity on blood agar. This approach revealed that the H. pylori ribA gene confers hemolytic properties to Escherichia coli. The ribA gene encodes the enzyme GTP-cyclohydrolase II [EC] that catalyzes the initial step in the synthesis of riboflavin. The predicted amino acid sequence of the H. pylori RibA protein showed a high degree of similarity to equivalent enzymes from microorganisms and from plants. The single gene on a plasmid restored riboflavin synthesis in a ribA mutant of E. coli and induced hemolytic activity. Furthermore, ribA overexpression was associated with the production of a fluorescent yellow molecule that was not identical with riboflavin. Hemolysis was also seen for the ribA gene from E. coli, indicating that this feature was not specific for the H. pylori gene. The presence of ribA in various H. pylori strains was confirmed by Southern blot hybridization and by polymerase chain reaction with specific primers. This analysis revealed that microdiversity exists within the DNA region upstream from ribA, which was further confirmed by nucleotide sequence analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center