Gene structure of the Helicobacter pylori cytotoxin and evidence of its key role in gastric disease

J Exp Med. 1994 May 1;179(5):1653-58. doi: 10.1084/jem.179.5.1653.


The gram negative, microaerophilic bacterium Helicobacter pylori colonizes the human gastric mucosa and establishes a chronic infection that is tightly associated with atrophic gastritis, peptic ulcer, and gastric carcinoma. Cloning of the H. pylori cytotoxin gene shows that the protein is synthesized as a 140-kD precursor that is processed to a 94-kD fully active toxin. Oral administration to mice of the purified 94-kD protein caused ulceration and gastric lesions that bear some similarities to the pathology observed in humans. The cloning of the cytotoxin gene and the development of a mouse model of human gastric disease will provide the basis for the understanding of H. pylori pathogenesis and the development of therapeutics and vaccines.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cytotoxins / genetics*
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Helicobacter pylori / genetics*
  • Helicobacter pylori / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Stomach Diseases / microbiology*
  • Stomach Ulcer / microbiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Cytotoxins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Peptide Fragments
  • VacA protein, Helicobacter pylori

Associated data

  • GENBANK/S72494