H. Pylori And Its Interactions With Humans In “An Endangered Species In The Stomach” By Martin J. Blaser

636 words - 3 pages

In the article, “An Endangered Species in the Stomach” by Martin J. Blaser, he talks about a 60,000 year old bacterium living in the human stomach, named “Helicobacter pylori”. H. pylori was first isolated for investigation in 1982 by Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren. Later researchers discovered that H. pylori was responsible for developing peptic ulcers, breaks in the lining of the stomach, or could also cause stomach cancer. For the past 100 years, there has been decrease in H. pylori bacteria in humans due to the widespread use of antibiotics and improved hygiene. At the same time, the disappearance of H. pylori caused an unexpected rise in the acid reflux disease and a deadly type of esophageal cancer. Making H pylori a vital microorganism to research in order to expand the study of microbiology and its interaction with humans.
According to Blaser, the H. pylori “is a group of extremely varied strains cooperating and competing with one another. They compete for nutrients, niches in the stomach and protection from stresses.” There can be variety of strains found in a single stomach, and even though they appear identical their genes are very different. According to studies, “humans are the only hosts for H. pylori, and the spread of the bacterium involves mouth-to-mouth or feces-to-mouth transmission.”
In 1989 Blaser discovered the first H. pylori gene that is called cagA which uses a type IV secretion system (TFSS) - a structure similar to a hypodermic needle - to inject the CagA protein into epithelial cells of the stomach lining. These cells then release pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines, which attract white blood cells that damage stomach tissue by dispersing highly reactive oxygen and nitrogen compounds. The effects of H. pylori depends on the interactions of the bacteria and its hosts. For example, strains with the cagA gene damage the stomach tissues severely, have a strong control on acidity...

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