Impact of structural polymorphism for the Helicobacter pylori CagA oncoprotein on binding to polarity-regulating kinase PAR1b

Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 22;6:30031. doi: 10.1038/srep30031.


Chronic infection with cagA-positive Helicobacter pylori is the strongest risk factor for atrophic gastritis, peptic ulcers, and gastric cancer. CagA, the product of the cagA gene, is a bacterial oncoprotein, which, upon delivery into gastric epithelial cells, binds to and inhibits the polarity-regulating kinase, partitioning-defective 1b (PAR1b) [also known as microtubule affinity-regulating kinase 2 (MARK2)], via its CagA multimerization (CM) motif. The inhibition of PAR1b elicits junctional and polarity defects, rendering cells susceptible to oncogenesis. Notably, the polymorphism in the CM motif has been identified among geographic variants of CagA, differing in either the copy number or the sequence composition. In this study, through quantitative analysis of the complex formation between CagA and PAR1b, we found that several CagA species have acquired elevated PAR1b-binding activity via duplication of the CM motifs, while others have lost their PAR1b-binding activity. We also found that strength of CagA-PAR1b interaction was proportional to the degrees of stress fiber formation and tight junctional disruption by CagA in gastric epithelial cells. These results indicate that the CM polymorphism is a determinant for the magnitude of CagA-mediated deregulation of the cytoskeletal system and thereby possibly affects disease outcome of cagA-positive H. pylori infection, including gastric cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Helicobacter pylori / genetics
  • Helicobacter pylori / metabolism
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • cagA protein, Helicobacter pylori
  • MARK2 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases