Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.337, No.1, 173-178, 2005
Free-soluble and outer membrane vesicle-associated VacA from Helicobacter pylori: Two forms of release, a different activity
Helicobacter pylori releases VacA both as free-soluble and as outer membrane vesicle (OMV)-associated toxin. In this study, we investigated the amount of VacA released in each of the two forms and the role of each form in VacA-induced cell vacuolation in vitro. We found that: (1) free-soluble toxin accounted for about 75% of released VacA, while the remaining 25% was OMV-associated; (2) although OMV-associated VacA caused a statistically significant vacuolation, virtually all the vacuolating activity of a H. pylori broth culture filtrate was due to free-soluble VacA. While it is widely accepted that OMVs may represent an important vehicle for delivering virulence factors to the gastric mucosa, our results suggest that OMV-associated VacA could play a pathobiological role different from that of free-soluble toxin. This conclusion fits with mounting evidence that VacA exerts a large pattern of pathobiological effects among which cell vacuolation might not be the main one. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.