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Chemotaxis plays multiple roles during Helicobacter pylori animal infection


Helicobacter pylori is a human gastric pathogen associated with gastric and duodenal ulcers as well as specific gastric cancers. H. pylori infects approximately 50% of the world's population. and infections can persist throughout the lifetime of the host. Motility and chemotaxis have been shown to be important in the infection process of H. pylori. We sought to address the specific roles of chemotaxis in infection of a mouse model system. We found that mutants lacking cheW, cheA, or cheY are all nonchemotactic and infect FVB/N mice with an attenuated phenotype after 2 weeks of infection. If infections proceeded for 6 months, however, this attenuation disappeared. Histological and culture analysis revealed that nonchemotactic mutants were found only in the corpus of the stomach, while the wild type occupied both the corpus and the antrum. Further analysis showed that nonchemotactic H. pylori isolates had an increased 50% infectious dose and were greatly outcompeted when coinfected with the wild type. If nonchemotactic mutants were allowed to establish an infection, subsequent infection with the wild type partially displaced the nonchemotactic mutants. indicating a role for chernotaxis in maintenance of infection. he data presented here support four roles for chemotaxis in H. pylori mouse infections: (i) establishing infection. (ii) achieving high-level infection, (iii) maintaining an infection when there are competing H. pylori present. and (iv) colonizing all regions of the stomach.

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