Helicobacter pylori Vacuolating Cytotoxin Inhibits T Lymphocyte Activation

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Science  22 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5636, pp. 1099-1102
DOI: 10.1126/science.1086871

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Helicobacter pylori (Hp) vacuolating cytotoxin VacA induces cellular vacuolation in epithelial cells. We found that VacA could efficiently block proliferation of T cells by inducing a G1/S cell cycle arrest. It interfered with the T cell receptor/interleukin-2 (IL-2) signaling pathway at the level of the Ca2+-calmodulin–dependent phosphatase calcineurin. Nuclear translocation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT), a transcription factor acting as a global regulator of immune response genes, was abrogated, resulting in down-regulation of IL-2 transcription. VacA partially mimicked the activity of the immunosuppressive drug FK506 by possibly inducing a local immune suppression, explaining the extraordinary chronicity of Hp infections.

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