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Int J Mol Epidemiol Genet 2011;2(3):286-291

Original Article
Helicobacter pylori bab genes during chronic colonization

Mario J. Matteo, Rita I. Armitano, Mariela Romeo, Andres Wonaga, Martín Olmos, Mariana Catalano

Departamento de Microbiología, Parasitología e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos
Aires, Argentina; Servicio de Gastroenterología, Clínica Bazterrica, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Servicio de Endoscopía, Hospital
General de Agudos Juan A Fernández, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Received June 14, 2011; accepted July 6, 2011; Epub July 23, 2011; published August 30, 2011

Abstract: Helicobacter pylori BabA adhesin metastability could yield variants with potential for periodic activation and
deactivation of their mediated adherence. babA/B or babB/A chimeras could play an important role in translational regulation.
We investigated the frequency of different bab gene profiles in paired isolates from antrum and corpus recovered from patients
with chronic gastritis. Isolates from 174 biopsies from 34 patients were included, and bab genes at the three common
chromosomal loci were investigated. Inter-micro-niche variation was found in 1/4 patients, counting duplicate copies of babA or
babB, babB/A or babA/B chimeras, opposite location of babA and babB or babC and babB, and absence of babB ATG
translational codon. Truncated BabA was identified in 2/34 patients without inter-micro-niche variation. Isolates from 12/34
patients harbored babA/B or babB/A chimeras -either in one, several or all micro-niches indicating that chimera formation is a
common mechanism to control BabA expression. To note, babA gene was absent in 11/34 patients, and in this population,
babA/B chimeras which lack expression predominated over babB/A, able to exhibit Leb binding phenotype.  (IJMEG1106003).

Key words: H. pylori, babA/B chimera, babB/A chimera

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Address all correspondence to:
Mariana Catalano, PhD
Departamento de Microbiología, Parasitología e Inmunología,
Facultad de Medicina
Universidad de Buenos Aires
Paraguay 2155, piso 12
(C1121ABG) Buenos Aires, Argentina
Phone: + 5411-5950-9500 (ext 2181)
FAX: + 5411-4964-2554
E-mail catalano@fmed.uba.ar