Helicobacter pylori adhesins: review and perspectives

Helicobacter. 2000 Dec;5(4):183-95. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-5378.2000.00029.x.


It is highly unlikely that chronic infection with H. pylori could occur in the absence of adhesin-host cell interactions. Also, there is no evidence that any of the serious outcomes of H. pylori infection such as gastric and duodenal ulcers, gastric cancer or mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma could occur without prior colonization of the gastric epithelium mediated by H. pylori adhesins. H. pylori is highly adaptable, as evidenced by the fact that it can occupy a single host for decades. An important facet of this adaptability is its ability to physically interact with various types of host cells and also with host mucins and extracellular matrix proteins using a number of different adhesins displaying a variety of unique receptor specificities. Thus it is highly unlikely that any one particular H. pylori adhesin will ever be proven responsible for a particular outcome such as duodenal ulcer, MALT lymphoma, or adenocarcinoma. Also, while the search for additional H. pylori adhesins should and certainly will continue, we suggest that the scope of this effort should be expanded to include investigations into the patterns of expression and interaction between individual outer membrane proteins. Which of the numerous H. pylori outer membrane proteins (OMPs) actually function as adhesins (i.e., have receptor-binding sites) and which OMPs are simply necessary for optimal display of the adhesive OMPs? There are many other important questions about H. pylori adhesins waiting to be answered. For example, which adhesins are responsible for loose adherence to host cells and which adhesins are responsible for intimate, or membrane-to-membrane, adherence, and do these adhesins normally work in concert or in a sequential fashion? Also, is a specific type of adhesin necessary for type IV protein translocation into host cells and, if so, is adhesin expression coregulated with the effector protein export?

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / genetics
  • Adhesins, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Helicobacter pylori / pathogenicity*
  • Helicobacter pylori / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • Adhesins, Bacterial