Activation of EGFR and ERBB2 by helicobacter pylori results in survival of gastric epithelial cells with DNA damage

Rupesh Chaturvedi, Mohammad Asim, M. Blanca Piazuelo, Fang Yan, Daniel P. Barry, Johanna Carolina Sierra, Alberto G. Delgado, Salisha Hill, Robert A. Casero, Luis E. Bravo, Ricardo L. Dominguez, Pelayo Correa, D. Brent Polk, M. Kay Washington, Kristie L. Rose, Kevin L. Schey, Douglas R. Morgan, Richard M. Peek, Keith T. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Background & Aims The gastric cancer-causing pathogen Helicobacter pylori up-regulates spermine oxidase (SMOX) in gastric epithelial cells, causing oxidative stress-induced apoptosis and DNA damage. A subpopulation of SMOX high cells are resistant to apoptosis, despite their high levels of DNA damage. Because epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activation can regulate apoptosis, we determined its role in SMOX-mediated effects. Methods SMOX, apoptosis, and DNA damage were measured in gastric epithelial cells from H pylori-infected Egfrwa5 mice (which have attenuated EGFR activity), Egfr wild-type mice, or in infected cells incubated with EGFR inhibitors or deficient in EGFR. A phosphoproteomic analysis was performed. Two independent tissue microarrays containing each stage of disease, from gastritis to carcinoma, and gastric biopsy specimens from Colombian and Honduran cohorts were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Results SMOX expression and DNA damage were decreased, and apoptosis increased in H pylori-infected Egfrwa5 mice. H pylori-infected cells with deletion or inhibition of EGFR had reduced levels of SMOX, DNA damage, and DNA damagehigh apoptosislow cells. Phosphoproteomic analysis showed increased EGFR and erythroblastic leukemia-associated viral oncogene B (ERBB)2 signaling. Immunoblot analysis showed the presence of a phosphorylated (p)EGFR-ERBB2 heterodimer and pERBB2; knockdown of ErbB2 facilitated apoptosis of DNA damagehigh apoptosislow cells. SMOX was increased in all stages of gastric disease, peaking in tissues with intestinal metaplasia, whereas pEGFR, pEGFR-ERBB2, and pERBB2 were increased predominantly in tissues showing gastritis or atrophic gastritis. Principal component analysis separated gastritis tissues from patients with cancer vs those without cancer. pEGFR, pEGFR-ERBB2, pERBB2, and SMOX were increased in gastric samples from patients whose disease progressed to intestinal metaplasia or dysplasia, compared with patients whose disease did not progress. Conclusions In an analysis of gastric tissues from mice and patients, we identified a molecular signature (based on levels of pEGFR, pERBB2, and SMOX) for the initiation of gastric carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1751.e14
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Marker
  • Prognostic Factor
  • Risk
  • Signal Transduction Pathways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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