Protective effects of Helicobacter pylori membrane vesicles against stress and antimicrobial agents

Benjamin Oliver Murray, Robin Andrew Dawson, Lolwah Mohammad Alsharaf, Jody Anne Winter

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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Outer-membrane vesicles (OMVs) produced by Helicobacter pylori deliver bacterial components to host cells, provide a mechanism for stabilization of secreted components and may allow the bacteria to exert 'long-range' effects in the gastric niche, promoting persistence. In addition to their well-characterized host cell interactions, membrane vesicles improve stress survival in other bacterial species, and are constitutively produced by both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria. We aimed to determine whether OMVs could improve H. pylori survival of a range of stressors. The effects of purified OMVs on the resistance of H. pylori to a range of environmental and antimicrobial stresses were determined using growth curves and survival assays. Addition of purified OMVs to H. pylori cultures provided dose-dependent protection against hydrogen peroxide-mediated killing. Supplementation with OMVs also partially protected H. pylori against the bactericidal effects of the antibiotics clarithromycin and levofloxacin, but not against amoxicillin nor metronidazole. Addition of purified OMVs allowed H. pylori to grow in the presence of inhibitory concentrations of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37. In the presence of 50 µg OMVs ml-1, significantly enhanced H. pylori growth was observed at higher LL-37 concentrations compared with lower LL-37 concentrations, suggesting that OMV-LL-37 interactions might facilitate release of growth-promoting nutrients. Taken together, these data indicate that production of membrane vesicles could help H. pylori to survive exposure to antibiotics and host antimicrobial defences during infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-758
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Early online date28 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antimicrobial
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Membrane vesicles
  • Stress
  • Survival

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