Geographic diversity in Helicobacter pylori oipA genotype between Korean and United States isolates

Aeryun Kim, Jing Lai, D. Scott Merrell, Ji Hye Kim, Hanfu Su, Jeong Heon Cha

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Helicobacter pylori outer membrane inflammatory protein A (OipA) was originally named for its role in inducing inflammation in the host, as evidenced by high mucosal IL-8 levels. Expression of OipA is regulated by phase variation of a CT dinucleotide-repeat located in the 5′ region of the gene. However, little is known about OipA geographic diversity across isolates. To address this gap, we conducted a large-scale molecular epidemiologic analysis using H. pylori clinical isolates obtained from two geographically distinct populations: Korea and the United States (US). Most Korean isolates (98.7%) possessed two copies of oipA located at two specific loci (A and B) while all US isolates contained only one copy of oipA at locus A. Furthermore, most Korean oipA (94.8%) possessed three or less CT repeats while most US oipA (96.6%) contained five or more CT repeats. Among the two copies, all Korean H. pylori possessed at least one oipA ‘on’ phase variant while the single copy of oipA in US isolates showed 56.2% ‘on’ and 43.8% ‘off.’ Thus, host differences seem to have driven geographic diversification of H. pylori across these populations such that OipA expression in US isolates is still regulated by phase variation with 5 or more CT repeats, while Korean isolates always express OipA; duplication of the oipA combined with a reduction of CT repeats to three or less ensures continued expression. En masse, these findings suggest that diversity in the oipA gene copy number, CT repeats, and phase variation among H. pylori from different populations may confer a benefit in adaptation to particular host populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1132
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (Ministry of Science and ICT) (2021R1A2C1003270).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Microbiological Society of Korea.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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