CD44 Plays a Functional Role in Helicobacter pylori-induced Epithelial Cell Proliferation

Nina Bertaux-Skeirik, Rui Feng, Michael A. Schumacher, Jing Li, Maxime M. Mahe, Amy C. Engevik, Jose E. Javier, Richard M. Peek, Karen Ottemann, Veronique Orian-Rousseau, Gregory P. Boivin, Michael A. Helmrath, Yana Zavros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations

Abstract

The cytotoxin-associated gene (Cag) pathogenicity island is a strain-specific constituent of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) that augments cancer risk. CagA translocates into the cytoplasm where it stimulates cell signaling through the interaction with tyrosine kinase c-Met receptor, leading cellular proliferation. Identified as a potential gastric stem cell marker, cluster-of-differentiation (CD) CD44 also acts as a co-receptor for c-Met, but whether it plays a functional role in H. pylori-induced epithelial proliferation is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that CD44 plays a functional role in H. pylori-induced epithelial cell proliferation. To assay changes in gastric epithelial cell proliferation in relation to the direct interaction with H. pylori, human- and mouse-derived gastric organoids were infected with the G27 H. pylori strain or a mutant G27 strain bearing cagA deletion (∆CagA::cat). Epithelial proliferation was quantified by EdU immunostaining. Phosphorylation of c-Met was analyzed by immunoprecipitation followed by Western blot analysis for expression of CD44 and CagA. H. pylori infection of both mouse- and human-derived gastric organoids induced epithelial proliferation that correlated with c-Met phosphorylation. CagA and CD44 co-immunoprecipitated with phosphorylated c-Met. The formation of this complex did not occur in organoids infected with ∆CagA::cat. Epithelial proliferation in response to H. pylori infection was lost in infected organoids derived from CD44-deficient mouse stomachs. Human-derived fundic gastric organoids exhibited an induction in proliferation when infected with H. pylorithat was not seen in organoids pre-treated with a peptide inhibitor specific to CD44. In the well-established Mongolian gerbil model of gastric cancer, animals treated with CD44 peptide inhibitor Pep1, resulted in the inhibition of H. pylori-induced proliferation and associated atrophic gastritis. The current study reports a unique approach to study H. pylori interaction with the human gastric epithelium. Here, we show that CD44 plays a functional role in H. pylori-induced epithelial cell proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1004663
JournalPLoS pathogens
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology

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