ASM Logo The bacterium Helicobacter pylori may often be held responsible for causing peptic ulcers and some types of stomach cancer. Experts declare that this bacteria needs vitamin B6 to establish and maintain chronic infection. The discovered enzyme that employs the vitamin can seemingly lead to the development of an entirely new class of antibiotics.

The method known as in vitro attenuation was employed by the researchers for creating low-infectivity variants of the bacteria. These bacteria variant were then compared to the gene expression profiles of the original highly infectious bacteria. It was noted that the PdxA and PdxJ, enzymes are involved in vitamin B6 biosythesis. These enzymes may be crucial factors for the chronic colonization of mice by H. pylori.

Richard Ferrero of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, a researcher on the study which also included scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, Australia alleged, “Approximately half the world’s population is infected with H. pylori, yet how H. pylori bacteria establish chronic infections in human hosts remains elusive. To our knowledge, this study is the first to describe a link between this vitamin and bacterial pathogenesis.”

It was revealed that bacteria reporting deficiency of these enzymes were unable to establish a chronic infection in a mouse model. Scientists conclude vitamin B6 biosynthesis enzymes as the vital virulence factors for bacterial pathogens. Only a number of human pathogens may contain these genes, and not their mammalian hosts. So Pdx enzymes possibly represent ideal candidates for new therapeutic drugs.

The research was published in the online journal mBio.