Barbara Satin a , Giuseppe Del Giudice b , Vittorina Della Bianca c , Stefano Dusi c , Carlo Laudanna c , Fiorella Tonello a , Dermot Kelleher d , Rino Rappuoli b , Cesare Montecucco a , Filippo Rossi c
1 May 2000
Helicobacter pylori infection induces the appearance of inflammatory infiltrates, consisting mainly of neutrophils and monocytes, in the human gastric mucosa. A bacterial protein with neutrophil activating activity (HP-NAP) has been previously identified, but its role in infection and immune response is still largely unknown. Here, we show that vaccination of mice with HP-NAP induces protection against H. pylori challenge, and that the majority of infected patients produce antibodies specific for HP-NAP, suggesting an important role of this factor in immunity. We also show that HP-NAP is chemotactic for human leukocytes and that it activates their NADPH oxidase to produce reactive oxygen intermediates, as demonstrated by the translocation of its cytosolic subunits to the plasma membrane, and by the lack of activity on chronic granulomatous disease leukocytes. This stimulating effect is strongly potentiated by tumor necrosis factor α and interferon γ and is mediated by a rapid increase of the cytosolic calcium concentration. The activation of leukocytes induced by HP-NAP is completely inhibited by pertussis toxin, wortmannin, and PP1. On the basis of these results, we conclude that HP-NAP is a virulence factor important for the H. pylori pathogenic effects at the site of infection and a candidate antigen for vaccine development.