Helicobacter pylori exhibits a high level of intraspecies genetic diversity. In this study, we investigated whether the diversification of H. pylori is influenced by the composition of the diet. Specifically, we investigated the effect of a high-salt diet (a known risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma) on H. pylori diversification within a host. We analyzed H. pylori strains isolated from Mongolian gerbils fed either a high-salt diet or a regular diet for 4 months by proteomic and whole-genome sequencing methods. Compared to the input strain and output strains from animals fed a regular diet, the output strains from animals fed a high-salt diet produced higher levels of proteins involved in iron acquisition and oxidative-stress resistance. Several of these changes were attributable to a nonsynonymous mutation in fur (fur-R88H). Further experiments indicated that this mutation conferred increased resistance to high-salt conditions and oxidative stress. We propose a model in which a high-salt diet leads to high levels of gastric inflammation and associated oxidative stress in H. pylori-infected animals and that these conditions, along with the high intraluminal concentrations of sodium chloride, lead to selection of H. pylori strains that are most fit for growth in this environment.
Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.