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Helicobacter pylori CagA Triggers Expression of the Bactericidal Lectin REG3? via Gastric STAT3 Activation
Published: Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Author: Kai Syin Lee et al.

by Kai Syin Lee, Anastasia Kalantzis, Cameron B. Jackson, Louise O'Connor, Naoko Murata-Kamiya, Masanori Hatakeyama, Louise M. Judd, Andrew S. Giraud, Trevelyan R. Menheniott

Background

Most of what is known about the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) cytotoxin, CagA, pertains to a much-vaunted role as a determinant of gastric inflammation and cancer. Little attention has been devoted to potential roles of CagA in the majority of H. pylori infected individuals not showing oncogenic progression, particularly in relation to host tolerance. Regenerating islet-derived (REG)3? encodes a secreted C-type lectin that exerts direct bactericidal activity against Gram-positive bacteria in the intestine. Here, we extend this paradigm of lectin-mediated innate immunity, showing that REG3? expression is triggered by CagA in the H. pylori-infected stomach.

Methodology/Principal Findings

In human gastric mucosal tissues, REG3? expression was significantly increased in CagA-positive, compared to CagA-negative H. pylori infected individuals. Using transfected CagA-inducible gastric MKN28 cells, we recapitulated REG3? induction in vitro, also showing that tyrosine phosphorylated, not unphosphorylated CagA triggers REG3? transcription. In concert with induced REG3?, pro-inflammatory signalling downstream of the gp130 cytokine co-receptor via the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3 and transcription of two cognate ligands, interleukin(IL)-11 and IL-6, were significantly increased. Exogenous IL-11, but not IL-6, directly stimulated STAT3 activation and REG3? transcription. STAT3 siRNA knockdown or IL-11 receptor blockade respectively abrogated or subdued CagA-dependent REG3? mRNA induction, thus demonstrating a requirement for uncompromised signalling via the IL-11/STAT3 pathway. Inhibition of the gp130-related SHP2-(Ras)-ERK pathway did not affect CagA-dependent REG3? induction, but strengthened STAT3 activation as well as augmenting transcription of mucosal innate immune regulators, IL-6, IL-8 and interferon-response factor (IRF)1.

Conclusions/Significance

Our results support a model of CagA-directed REG3? expression in gastric epithelial cells via activation of the IL-11/gp130/STAT3 pathway. This response might allow Gram-negative H. pylori to manipulate host immunity to favour its own survival, by reducing the fitness of co-habiting Gram-positive bacteria with which it competes for resources in the gastric mucosal niche.

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