The Helicobacter pylori virulence factor CagA targets a variety of host proteins to alter different cellular responses, including the induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines. We have previously shown that CagA-facilitated lysine 63-linked ubiquitination of TAK1 is essential for the H. pylori-induced NF-κB activation and the expression of proinflammatory cytokines. However, the molecular mechanism for TAK1 ubiquitination and activation in H. pylori-mediated NF-κB activation remains elusive. Here, we identify lysine 158 of TAK1 as the key residue undergoing lysine 63-linked ubiquitination in response to H. pylori infection. Mutation of lysine 158 to arginine prevents the ubiquitination of TAK1 and impairs H. pylori-induced TAK1 and NF-κB activation. Moreover, we demonstrate that E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzyme Ubc13 is involved in H. pylori-mediated TAK1 ubiquitination. Suppressing the activity of Ubc13 by a dominant-negative mutant or siRNA abolishes CagA-facilitated and H. pylori-induced TAK1 and NF-κB activation. These findings further underscore the importance of lysine 63-linked ubiquitination of TAK1 in H. pylori-induced NF-κB activation and NF-κB-mediated inflammatory response. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 2284–2292, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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