The impact of autophagic processes on the intracellular fate of Helicobacter pylori: more tricks from an enigmatic pathogen?

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Helicobacter pylori is a Gram-negative pathogen that colonizes the gastric epithelium of 50-60 of the world s population. Approximately one-fifth of the infected individuals manifest severe diseases such as peptic ulcers or gastric cancer. H. pylori infection has proven difficult to cure despite intensive antibiotic treatment. One possible reason for the relatively high resistance to antimicrobial therapy is the ability of H. pylori to reside inside host cells. Although considered by most as an extracellular pathogen, H. pylori can invade both gastric epithelial cells and immunocytes to some extent. The intracellular survival of H. pylori has been implicated in its ability to persist in the stomach, evade host immune responses and resist eradication by membrane-impermeable antibiotics. Interestingly, recent evidence suggests that macroautophagy, a cellular self-degradation process characterized by the formation of double-membraned autophagosomes, plays an important role in determining the intracellular fate of H. pylori. Detailed understanding of the interaction between H. pylori and host cell autophagic processes is anticipated to provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms of macroautophagy and H. pylori pathogenesis, opening new avenues for the therapeutic intervention of autophagy-related and H. pylori-related disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639 - 652
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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