Gamma-glutamyltransferase of Helicobacter pylori alters the proliferation, migration, and pluripotency of mesenchymal stem cells by affecting metabolism and methylation status

J Microbiol. 2022 Jun;60(6):627-639. doi: 10.1007/s12275-022-1575-4. Epub 2022 Apr 18.


Virulence factor gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) of H. pylori consumes glutamine (Gln) in the stomach to decrease the tricarboxylic acid metabolite alpha-ketoglutarate (α-kg) and alter the downstream regulation of α-kg as well as cellular biological characteristics. Our previous research indicated that under H. pylori infection, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) migrated to the stomach and participated in gastric cancer (GC) development either by differentiating into epithelial cells or promoting angiogenesis. However, how MSCs themselves participate in H. pylori-indicated GC remains unclear. Therefore, a GGT knockout H. pylori strain (Hp-KS-1) was constructed, and downstream histone H3K9 and H3K27 methylation and the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway of α-kg were detected using Western blotting. The biological characteristics of MSCs were also examined. An additive α-kg supplement was also added to H. pylori-treated MSCs to investigate alterations in these aspects. Compared to the control and Hp-KS-1 groups, H. pylori-treated MSCs reduced Gln and α-kg, increased H3K9me3 and H3K27me3, activated the PI3K-AKT signaling pathway, and promoted the proliferation, migration, self-renewal, and pluripotency of MSCs. The addition of α-kg rescued the H. pylori-induced alterations. Injection of MSCs to nude mice resulted in the largest tumors in the H. pylori group and significantly reduced tumor sizes in the Hp-KS-1 and α-kg groups. In summary, GGT of H. pylori affected MSCs by interfering with the metabolite α-kg to increase trimethylation of histone H3K9 and H3K27, activating the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway, and promoting proliferation, migration, self-renewal, and pluripotency in tumorigenesis, elucidating the mechanisms of MSCs in GC development.

Keywords: H. pylori; PI3K/AKT; energy metabolism; gamma-glutamyltransferase; mesenchymal stem cell; methylation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Helicobacter Infections* / pathology
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*
  • Methylation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / genetics
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / metabolism


  • Histones
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt