HP0958 is an essential motility gene in Helicobacter pylori


  • Edited by S. Smith


Motility is an essential colonization factor for the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori. The H. pylori genome encodes most known flagellar proteins, although a number of key transcription regulators, chaperones, and structural proteins have not yet been identified. Using recently published yeast two-hybrid data we identified HP0958 as a potential motility-associated protein due to its strong interactions with RpoN (σ54) and FliH, a flagellar ATPase regulator. HP0958 exhibits no sequence similarity to any published flagellar genes but contains a carboxy-terminal zinc finger domain that could function in nucleic acid or protein binding. We created a HP0958 mutant by inserting a chloramphenicol resistance marker into the gene using a PCR-based allelic exchange method and the resultant mutant was non-motile as measured by a BacTracker instrument. Electron microscopic analysis revealed that the HP0958 mutant cells were aflagellate and Western blot analysis revealed a dramatic reduction in flagellin and hook protein production. The HP0958 mutant also showed decreased transcription of flgE, flaB and flaA as well as the checkpoint genes flhA and flhF. Expression of flgM was increased relative to the wild-type and both rpoN and fliA28) expression were unchanged. We conclude that HP0958 is essential for normal motility and flagella production, and represents a novel flagellar component in the epsilon proteobacteria.