Professor Kazunari Akiyoshi's research group at Kyoto University discovered that exosomes, which are responsible for transporting substances outside cells, contain pathogenic proteins produced by Helicobacter pylori.Helicobacter pylori infection has been thought to be the cause of various diseases throughout the body, but it has been suggested that it may be involved in the mechanism.

 Helicobacter pylori is a well-known bacterium that infects the stomach and causes gastric ulcers and cancer.It is estimated that half of the world's population is infected, and it is known that the infection rate increases with age in Japan.Among them, Helicobacter pylori, which has the pathogenic protein CagA, greatly increases the risk of gastric cancer.In addition, it has been pointed out that it is associated with heart disease, blood disease, and neurological disease, but the reason is not well understood.Since almost 100% of Helicobacter pylori that infects Japanese people have CagA, it is urgent to clarify the relationship with these systemic diseases.

 The group suspected that CagA might be carried from the cells of the stomach to the whole body by exosomes, small bubbles secreted by the cells.Exosomes are responsible for transporting intracellular substances to other cells.In other words, CagA injected into the cells by Helicobacter pylori may have entered the exosomes.To test this hypothesis, exosomes were removed from the sera of gastric cancer patients and their components analyzed.As a result, we were able to confirm the protein that seems to be CagA possessed by Helicobacter pylori.

 Thus, it became clear that the pathogenic protein derived from Helicobacter pylori that infected the stomach is carried to the whole body by exosomes.It is expected that the cause of systemic diseases caused by Helicobacter pylori, which has been unknown until now, will be elucidated.In the future, I hope that research will elucidate the mechanism by which pathogenic proteins are taken up by exosomes and advance to the establishment of therapeutic methods.

Kyoto University

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