Anthocyanins have been studied as potential antimicrobial agents against Helicobacter pylori. We investigated whether the biosynthesis and secretion of cytotoxin-associated protein A (CagA) and vacuolating cytotoxin A (VacA) could be suppressed by anthocyanin treatment in vitro. H. pylori reference strain 60190 (CagA+/VacA+) was used in this study to investigate the inhibitory effects of anthocyanins; cyanidin 3-O-glucoside (C3G), peonidin 3-O-glucoside (Peo3G), pelargonidin 3-O-glucoside (Pel3G), and malvidin 3-O-glucoside (M3G) on expression and secretion of H. pylori toxins. Anthocyanins were added to bacterial cultures and Western blotting was used to determine secretion of CagA and VacA. Among them, we found that C3G inhibited secretion of CagA and VacA resulting in intracellular accumulation of CagA and VacA. C3G had no effect on cagA and vacA expression but suppressed secA transcription. As SecA is involved in translocation of bacterial proteins, the down-regulation of secA expression by C3G offers a mechanistic explanation for the inhibition of toxin secretion. To our knowledge, this is the first report suggesting that C3G inhibits secretion of the H. pylori toxins CagA and VacA via suppression of secA transcription.
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