Helicobacter hepaticus is a pathogen of rodents, which causes diverse enteric and hepatic inflammatory diseases and malignancies. The urease enzyme is an important colonization factor of gastric Helicobacter species like Helicobacter pylori, but little is known about the role and regulation of urease in enterohepatic Heficobacter species. Here it is reported that urease activity of H. hepaticus does not contribute to acid resistance, and that it is nickel-responsive at the post-translational level. H. hepaticus strain ATCC 51449 did not grow or survive at pH 3.0, and supplementation with urea or NiCl2 did not abrogate this acid sensitivity. Furthermore, urease enzyme activity of H. hepaticus was acid-independent, which contrasts with the acid-induced urease system of H. pylori. Nickel supplementation of Brucella medium resulted in a tenfold increase in urease activity in both H. hepaticus and H. pylori, but the maximum level of urease activity in H. hepaticus was still three- to fivefold lower when compared to H. pylori in the same conditions. The increase in urease activity of H. hepaticus was not associated with elevation of urease mRNA or protein levels. Inhibition of protein synthesis by chloramphenicol did not affect nickel-responsive induction of urease activity in H. hepaticus, and confirmed that nickel induction occurs at the post-translational level, probably by activation of preformed apo-enzyme. In conclusion, both the role of the urease enzyme and the regulation of urease activity differ between the enterohepatic pathogen H. hepaticus and the gastric pathogen H. pylori.

doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.28188-0, hdl.handle.net/1765/55889
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Belzer, C., Stoof, J., Beckwith, C., Kuipers, E., Kusters, J., & van Vliet, A. (2005). Differential regulation of urease activity in Helicobacter hepaticus and Helicobacter pylori. Microbiology, 151(12), 3989–3995. doi:10.1099/mic.0.28188-0