The pathogen Helicobacter pylori, which infects half of the world's population, is a major risk factor for the development of gastric diseases including chronic gastritis and gastric cancer. Among H. pylori's virulence factors is the cytotoxin-associated gene pathogenicity island (cagPAI), which encodes for a type IV secretion system (T4SS). The T4SS induces fast canonical nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling, a major factor increasing inflammation, supressing apoptotic cell death and thereby promoting the development of neoplasia. However, H. pylori's capability to mediate fast non-canonical NF-κB signaling is unresolved, despite a contribution of non-canonical NF-κB signaling to gastric cancer has been suggested. We analyzed signaling elements within non-canonical NF-κB in response to H. pylori in epithelial cell lines by immunoprecipitation, immunoblot, electrophoretic mobility shift assay and RNA interference knockdown. In addition, tissue samples of H. pylori-infected patients were investigated by immunohistochemistry. Here, we provide evidence for a T4SS-dependent direct activation of non-canonical NF-κB signaling. We identified the lymphotoxin beta receptor (LTβR) to elicit the fast release of NF-κB inducing kinase (NIK) from the receptor complex leading to non-canonical NF-κB signaling. Further, NIK expression was increased in human biopsies of H. pylori-associated gastritis. Thus, NIK could represent a novel target to reduce Helicobacter pylori-induced gastric inflammation and pathology.
Keywords: Gastritis; Inflammation; NIK; Type IV secretion system.
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