Thomas Borén - Professor

Helicobacter pylori, Adhesion and Patho-Adaptation

Helicobacter pylori infection causes chronic active gastritis and peptic ulcer disease. In the western world, 10% of people (22.000.000 individuals) develop peptic ulcers. Furthermore, H. pylori infection is tightly correlated with development of gastric cancer with >500.000 mortalities/Y and, H. pylori has been defined a carcinogen by the WHO. The project studies protein-carbohydrate interactions that mediate adherence of H. pylori to stomach tissue. We focus on the Blood Group Antigen Binding Adhesin, BabA, which is the key player attachment protein that targets H. pylori binding to the stomach lining. Bacterial adherence is mediated by high-affinity (strong) binding to carbohydrates such as ABO antigens (displayed by the common ABO-blood group system). Our recent results demonstrate adaptation of H. pylori to changes in mucosal glycosylation patterns and, in addition, adaptation to ABO phenotypes in local population;

Our current projects and interests:

  • Structural identification of the detailed carbohydrate binding domains of the H. pylori BabA adhesin (crystals and NMR).
  • BabA will be analyzed for adaptation to host ABO phenotypes. Clones that have developed novel and adapted binding properties during infection of gastric mucosa will be identified by in vivo and in vitro selection.
  • H. pylori adhesin proteins will be developed into vaccine candidates. The animal model used is the transgenic "Lewis b mouse". Results can then be experimentally verified in human volunteers.


Jeanna Bugaytsova
Eugen Chernov
Olena Rakhimova
Anna Shevtsova


Borén T., Falk P., Roth K.A., Larson G., and Normark S. (1993) Attachment of Helicobacter pylori to Human Gastric Epithelium Mediated by Blood Group Antigens. Science, 262, 1892-1895.

Ilver D., Arnqvist A., Ögren J., Frick I.-M., Kersulyte D., Incecik E. T., Berg D. E., Covacci A., Engstrand L., Borén T. (1998) Helicobacter pylori Adhesin Binding Fucosylated Histo-Blood Group Antigens Revealed by Retagging. Science, 279, 373-377.

Mahdavi J., Sondén B., Hurtig M., Olfat FO., Forsberg L., Roche N., Ångstrom J,. Larsson T., Teneberg S., Karlsson KA., Altraja S., Wadström T., Kersulyte D., Berg DE., Dubois A., Petersson C., Magnusson KE., Norberg T., Lindh F., Lundskog BB., Arnqvist A., Hammarström L., Borén T. (2002) Helicobacter pylori SabA adhesin in persistent infection and chronic inflammation. Science, 297, 573-578

Aspholm-Hurtig M, Dailide G, Lahmann M, Kalia A, Ilver D, Roche N, Vikström S, Sjöström R, Lindén S, Bäckström A, Lundberg C, Arnqvist A, Mahdavi J, Nilsson UJ, Velapatino B, Gilman RH, Gerhard M, Alarcon T, Lopez-Brea M, Nakazawa T, Fox JG, Correa P, Dominguez-Bello MG, Perez-Perez GI, Blaser MJ, Normark S, Carlstedt I, Oscarson S, Teneberg S, Berg DE, Borén T. (2004) Functional adaptation of BabA, the H. pylori ABO blood group antigen binding adhesin. Science, 305, 519-22

Aspholm M., Olfat FO., Nordén J., Sondén B., Lundberg C., Sjöström R., Altraja S., Odenbreit S., Haas R, Wadström T., Engstrand L., Semino-Mora C., Liu H., Dubois A., Teneberg S., Arnqvist A., Borén T. (2006) SabA is the H. pylori hemagglutinin and is polymorphic in binding to sialylated glycans. PLoS Pathog., 10:e110.

Aspholm M., Kalia A., Ruhl S., Schedin S., Arnqvist A., Lindén S., Sjöström R., Gerhard M., Semino-Mora C., Dubois A., Unemo M., Danielsson D., Teneberg S., Lee W.K., Berg D.E., Borén T. (2006) "Helicobacter pylori adhesion to carbohydrates" for Chapter 51, in the issue "Functional Glycobiology", edited by Minoru Fukuda. Methods in Enzymology, 417, 293-339.

Dubois, A., Borén, T. (2007) Helicobacter pylori is invasive and it may be a facultative intracellular organism. Cell Microbiol., 5, 1108-16.

Lindén, S., Mahdavi, J., Semino-Mora, C., Carlstedt, I., Borén, T., Dubois, A. (2008) Role of ABO secretor status in mucosal innate immunity and H. pylori infection. PLoS Pathog. 1:e2.

Björnham O, Bugaytsova J, Borén T, Schedin S. (2009) Dynamic force spectroscopy of the Helicobacter pylori BabA-Lewis b binding. Biophys Chem. 143 (1-2), 102-5.

Styer CM, Hansen LM, Cooke CL, Gundersen AM, Choi SS, Berg DE, Benghezal M, Marshall BJ, Peek RM Jr, Borén T, Solnick JV. (2010) Expression of the BabA adhesin during experimental infection with Helicobacter pylori. Infect Immun. 78, 1593-600.

Moore M, Borén T and Solnick JV. (2011) Life at the Margins: Modulation of Attachment Proteins in Helicobacter pylori Gut Microbes. 42-6.

Ishijima N., Suzuki M., Ashida H., Ichikawa Y., Kanegae Y., Saito I., Borén T., Haas R., Sasakawa C., Mimuro H. (2011)
BabA-mediated Adherence Is a Potentiator of the Helicobacter pylori Type IV Secretion System Activity. J Biol Chem. 286, 25256-64.

Fei YY., Schmidt A., Bylund G., Johansson DX., Henriksson S., Lebrilla C., Solnick JV., Borén T.*, Zhu XD.* (2011) Use of Real-Time, Label-Free Analysis in Revealing Low-Affinity Binding to Blood Group 
Antigens by Helicobacter pylori. Anal Chem. 83, 6336-6341.                              

Parreira P, Magalhães A, Reis CA, Borén T, Leckband D, Martins MC. (2013) Bioengineered surfaces promote specific protein-glycan mediated binding of the gastric  pathogen Helicobacter pylori.  Acta Biomater. 9, 8885-93.

Mahdavi J., Royer PJ., Sjolinder HS., Azimi S., Self T., Stoof J., Wheldon LM., Brännström K., Wilson R., Moreton J., Moir JW., Sihlbom C., Borén T., Johnsson AB., Soultanas P., Ala’Aldeen DA. (2013) Pro-inflammatory cytokines can act as intracellular modulators of commensal bacterial virulence.  Open Biol. 3, 10,130048.

Ito Y., Vela JL., Matsumura F., Hoshino H., Tyznik A., Lee H., Girardi E., Zajonc DM., Liddinton R., Kobayashi M., Bao X., Bugaytsova J., Borén T., Jin R., Zong Y., Seeberger PH., Nakayama J., Kronenberg M., Fukuda M. (2013)  Helicobacter pylori cholesteryl a-glucosides contribute to its pathogenicity and immune response by natural killer T cells. PLoS One. 8, 12, e78191.

Messing J., Thöle C., Nieheus M., Shevtsova A., Glocker E., Borén T., Hensel A. (2014) Antiadhesive properties of Abelmoshus esculentus (Okra) immature fruit extract against Helicobacter pylori adhesion. PLoS One. 9, 1, e84836.

Mahdavi J., Pirinccioglu N., Oldfield NJ., Carlsohn E., Stoof J., Aslam A., Self T., Cawthraw SA., Petrovska L., Colborne N., Sihlbom C., Borén T., Wooldridge KG., Ala’Aldeen DA. (2014) A novel O-linked glycan modulates Campylobacter jejuni major outer membrane protein-mediated adhesion to human histo-blood group antigens and chicken colonization. Open Biol. 4:130202.

Messing J., Nieheus M., Shevtsova A., Borén T., Hensel A. (2014) Antiadhesive Properties of Arabinogalactan Protein from Ribes nigrum Seeds against Bacterial Adhesion of Helicobacter pylori. Molecules. 19, 3696-717.

Åberg A, Gideonsson P, Vallström A, Olofsson A, Öhman C, Rakhimova L, Borén T, Engstrand L, Brännström K, Arnqvist A. (2014) A repetitive DNA element regulates expression of the Helicobacter pylori sialic acid binding adhesin by a rheostat-like mechanism. PLoS Pathog. 10(7).

Parreira P, Shi Q, Magalhaes A, Reis CA, Bugaytsova J, Borén T, Leckband D, Martins MC. (2014) Atomic force microscopy measurements reveal multiple bonds between Helicobacter pylori blood group antigen binding adhesin and Lewis b ligand. J R Soc Interface. 11, 101, 20141040.

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Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics
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