Helicobacter pylori-induced HB-EGF upregulates gastrin expression via the EGF receptor, C-Raf, Mek1, and Erk2 in the MAPK pathway

Niluka Gunawardhana, Sungil Jang, Yun Hui Choi, Youngmin A. Hong, Yeong Eui Jeon, Aeryun Kim, Hanfu Su, Ji Hye Kim, Yun Jung Yoo, D. Scott Merrell, Jinmoon Kim, Jeong Heon Cha

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Helicobacter pylori is associated with hypergastrinemia, which has been linked to the development of gastric diseases. Although the molecular mechanism is not fully understood, H. pylori is known to modulate the Erk pathway for induction of gastrin expression. Herein we found that an epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor kinase inhibitor significantly blocked H. pylori-induced gastrin promoter activity, suggesting involvement of EGF receptor ligands. Indeed, H. pylori induced mRNA expression of EGF family members such as amphiregulin, EGF, heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF), and transforming growth factor-α. Of these, specific siRNA targeting of HB-EGF significantly blocked H. pylori-induced gastrin expression. Moreover, H. pylori induced HB-EGF ectodomain shedding, which we found to be a critical process for H. pylori-induced gastrin expression. Thus, we demonstrate a novel role for human mature HB-EGF in stimulating gastrin promoter activity during H. pylori infection. Further investigation using specific siRNAs targeting each isoform of Raf, Mek, and Erk elucidated that the mechanism underlying H. pylori-induced gastrin expression can be delineated as the sequential activation of HB-EGF, the EGF receptor, C-Raf, Mek1, and the Erk2 molecules in the MAPK pathway. Surprisingly, whereas Erk2 acts as a potent activator of gastrin expression, siRNA knockdown of Erk1 induced gastrin promoter activity, suggesting that Erk1 typically acts as a repressor of gastrin expression. Elucidation of the mechanism of gastrin modulation by HB-EGF-mediated EGF receptor transactivation should facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies against H. pylori-related hypergastrinemia and consequently gastric disease development, including gastric cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number541
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Issue numberJAN
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (2017R1A2B4008960). We thank Jang Gi Cho for graphical assistance with Figure 7. The GES-1 cells were kindly provided by Prof. Kyung-Hee Chun (Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Gunawardhana, Jang, Choi, Hong, Jeon, Kim, Su, Kim, Yoo, Merrell, Kim and Cha.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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