Background: Helicobacter pylori is associated with inflammation of different areas, such as the
duodenum and stomach, causing gastritis and gastric ulcers leading to lymphoma and cancer. Pathogenic
islands are a type of clustered mobile elements ranging from 10-200 Kb contributing to the virulence of the
respective pathogen coding for one or more virulence factors. Virulence factors are molecules expressed and
secreted by pathogen and are responsible for causing disease in the host. Bacterial genes/virulence factors of
the pathogenic islands represent a promising source for identifying novel drug targets.
Objective: The study aimed at identifying novel drug targets from pathogenic islands in H. pylori.
Material & Methods: The genome of 23 H. pylori strains were screened for pathogenic islands and bacterial
genes/virulence factors to identify drug targets. Protein-protein interactions of drug targets were
predicted for identifying interacting partners. Further, host-pathogen interactions of interacting partners
were predicted to identify important molecules which are closely associated with gastric cancer.
Results: Screening the genome of 23 H. pylori strains revealed 642 bacterial genes/virulence factors
in 31 pathogenic islands. Further analysis identified 101 genes which were non-homologous to human
and essential for the survival of the pathogen, among them 31 are potential drug targets. Proteinprotein
interactions for 31 drug targets predicted 609 interacting partners. Predicted interacting partners
were further subjected to host-pathogen interactions leading to identification of important molecules
like TNF receptor associated factor 6, (TRAF6) and MAPKKK7 which are closely associated
with gastric cancer.
Conclusion: These provocative studies enabled us to identify important molecules in H. pylori and
their counter interacting molecules in the host leading to gastric cancer and also a pool of novel drug
targets for therapeutic intervention of gastric cancer.