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author:("tannis, Tone")
1.  In silico evolutionary analysis of Helicobacter pylori outer membrane phospholipase A (OMPLA) 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:206.
Background
In the past decade, researchers have proposed that the pldA gene for outer membrane phospholipase A (OMPLA) is important for bacterial colonization of the human gastric ventricle. Several conserved Helicobacter pylori genes have distinct genotypes in different parts of the world, biogeographic patterns that can be analyzed through phylogenetic trees. The current study will shed light on the importance of the pldA gene in H. pylori. In silico sequence analysis will be used to investigate whether the bacteria are in the process of preserving, optimizing, or rejecting the pldA gene. The pldA gene will be phylogenetically compared to other housekeeping (HK) genes, and a possible origin via horizontal gene transfer (HGT) will be evaluated through both intra- and inter-species evolutionary analyses.
Results
In this study, pldA gene sequences were phylogenetically analyzed and compared with a large reference set of concatenated HK gene sequences. A total of 246 pldA nucleotide sequences were used; 207 were from Norwegian isolates, 20 were from Korean isolates, and 19 were from the NCBI database. Best-fit evolutionary models were determined with MEGA5 ModelTest for the pldA (K80 + I + G) and HK (GTR + I + G) sequences, and maximum likelihood trees were constructed. Both HK and pldA genes showed biogeographic clustering. Horizontal gene transfer was inferred based on significantly different GC contents, the codon adaptation index, and a phylogenetic conflict between a tree of OMPLA protein sequences representing 171 species and a tree of the AtpA HK protein for 169 species. Although a vast majority of the residues in OMPLA were predicted to be under purifying selection, sites undergoing positive selection were also found.
Conclusions
Our findings indicate that the pldA gene could have been more recently acquired than seven of the HK genes found in H. pylori. However, the common biogeographic patterns of both the HK and pldA sequences indicated that the transfer occurred long ago. Our results indicate that the bacterium is preserving the function of OMPLA, although some sites are still being evolutionarily optimized.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-206
PMCID: PMC3490997  PMID: 22974200
OMPLA; pldA; Phospholipase A; Outer membrane; Helicobacter pylori; Biogeography; Adaptation
2.  Interleukin-8 is the single most up-regulated gene in whole genome profiling of H. pylori exposed gastric epithelial cells 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:9.
Background
The association between Helicobacter pylori infection and upper gastrointestinal disease is well established. However, only a small fraction of H. pylori carriers develop disease, and there are great geographical differences in disease penetrance. The explanation to this enigma lies in the interaction between the bacterium and the host. H. pylori Outer Membrane Phospholipase A (OMPLA) has been suggested to play a role in the virulence of this bacterium. The aim of this study was to profile the most significant cellular pathways and biological processes affected in gastric epithelial cells during 24 h of H. pylori exposure, and to study the inflammatory response to OMPLA+ and OMPLA- H. pylori variants.
Results
Interleukin-8 was the most significantly up-regulated gene and appears to play a paramount role in the epithelial cell response to H. pylori infection and in the pathological processes leading to gastric disease. MAPK and NF-kappaB cellular pathways were powerfully activated, but did not seem to explain the impressive IL-8 response. There was marked up-regulation of TP53BP2, whose corresponding protein ASPP2 may interact with H. pylori CagA and cause marked p53 suppression of apoptosis. Other regulators of apoptosis also showed abberant regulation. We also identified up-regulation of several oncogenes and down-regulation of tumor suppressor genes as early as during the first 24 h of infection. H. pylori OMPLA phase variation did not seem to influence the inflammatory epithelial cell gene response in this experiment.
Conclusion
In whole genome analysis of the epithelial response to H. pylori exposure, IL-8 demonstrated the most marked up-regulation, and was involved in many of the most important cellular response processes to the infection. There was dysregulation of apoptosis, tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes as early as in the first 24 h of H. pylori infection, which may represent early signs of gastric tumorigenesis. OMPLA+/-did not affect the acute inflammatory response to H. pylori.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-9
PMCID: PMC3292955  PMID: 22248188
3.  Temporal and Spatial Diversity of the Tap Water Microbiota in a Norwegian Hospital ▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(24):7855-7857.
We analyzed the temporal and spatial diversity of the microbiota in a low-usage and a high-usage hospital tap. We identified a tap-specific colonization pattern, with potential human pathogens being overrepresented in the low-usage tap. We propose that founder effects and local adaptation caused the tap-specific colonization patterns. Our conclusion is that tap-specific colonization represents a potential challenge for water safety.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01174-09
PMCID: PMC2794120  PMID: 19837845
4.  Phase Variation in the Helicobacter pylori Phospholipase A Gene and Its Role in Acid Adaptation 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(12):7334-7340.
Previously, we have shown that Helicobacter pylori can spontaneously and reversibly change its membrane lipid composition, producing variants with low or high content of lysophospholipids. The “lyso” variant contains a high percentage of lysophospholipids, adheres better to epithelial cells, and releases more proteins such as urease and VacA, compared to the “normal” variant, which has a low content of lysophospholipids. Prolonged growth of the normal variant at pH 3.5, but not under neutral conditions, leads to enrichment of lyso variant colonies, suggesting that the colony switch is relevant to acid adaptation. In this study we show that the change in membrane lipid composition is due to phase variation in the pldA gene. A change in the (C) tract length of this gene results in reversible frameshifts, translation of a full-length or truncated pldA, and the production of active or inactive outer membrane phospholipase A (OMPLA). The role of OMPLA in determining the colony morphology was confirmed by the construction of an OMPLA-negative mutant. Furthermore, variants with an active OMPLA were able to survive acidic conditions better than variants with the inactive form. This explains why the lyso variant is selected at low pH. Our studies demonstrate that phase variation in the pldA gene, resulting in an active form of OMPLA, is important for survival under acidic conditions. We also demonstrated the active OMPLA genotype in fresh isolates of H. pylori from patients referred to gastroscopy for dyspepsia.
doi:10.1128/IAI.69.12.7334-7340.2001
PMCID: PMC98819  PMID: 11705905

Results 1-4 (4)