Helicobacter hepaticus ATCC51449

From MicrobeWiki, the student-edited microbiology resource

A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus Helicobacter hepaticus ATCC51449


Higher order taxa

Cellular Organisms; Bacteria; Proteobacteria; Delta/Epsilon Subdivisions; Epsilonproteobacteria; Campylobacterales; Helicobacteraceae; Helicobacter; Helicobacter hepaticus ATCC51449


Helicobacter hepaticus

NCBI: Taxonomy Genome: H. hepaticus ATCC51449

Description and significance

Helicobacter hepaticus ATCC514459 is a Gram-negative, spiral (anywhere from one to seven spirals) shaped bacteria. It is usually between 0.2 to 0.3 µm in diameter and 1.5 to 5.0 µm long. It is a microaerophilic organism since it requires oxygen to live, but can live at environments that contain less oxygen than atmospheric levels. Like other species of Helicobacter, Helicobacter hepaticus, can be found in the mucosal layer of the gastrointestinal tract or in liver tissue. In mice, it has been found to cause chronic hepatitis, liver cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. Its importance in humans is not fully understood yet. (EMBL-EBI)

Helicobacter hepaticus was first isolated from hepatic tissue by when a spiral bacteria was able to be cultivated on blood agar plates incubated at 37ºC under anaerobic or microaerobic conditions. Ultrastructural morphologic examination, biochemical characteristics examination, and 16S rRNA gene sequencing were all used to characterize Helicobacter hepaticus. (Rice 129-30)

Genome structure

Helicobacter hepaticus has a circular genome consisting of 1,799,146 base pairs, which are thought to encode for 1,875 proteins. It has a 35.9% GC content and 938 of its proteins have orthologs with Helicobacter pylori, 953 are orthologous with Campylobacter jejuni, and 821 are orthologous with both H. pylori and C. jejuni. The genome also contains a 71 kb genomic island HHGI1. The genomic island encodes three components of a type IV secretion system. A type IV secretion system is a conjugation system that allows for the transporting of DNA or proteins. Five other strains of Helicobacter hepaticus that are known to cause liver disease lacked anywhere from 85 to 229 genes, including large parts of the genomic island HHGI1. (Suerbaum S)

Cell structure and metabolism

Helicobacter hepaticus has bipolar sheathed flagella for motility. However, unlike other Helicobacter species, Helicobacter hepaticus does not have the periplasmic fibers that envelope the bacterial cell.

For metabolism, Helicobacter hepaticus has a strong urease activity. Urease is an enzyme that catalyzes the hyrdolysis of urea into bicarbonate and ammonia, both of which neutralize gastric acid and therefore allows the bacteria to colonize the acidic environment that the gastrointestinal tract can be. Helicobacter hepaticus tests positive in both oxidase and catalase tests. The oxidase test shows the presence of cytochrome c oxidases which show that a cell would be capable of using oxygen to produce energy via an Electon Transport Chain. The catalase test further proves this ability since catalase is an enzyme that decomposes hydrogen peroxide (a Reactive Oxygen Species) into water and oxygen. Helicobacter hepaticus can also gain energy anaerobically by reducing different compounds. It can reduce sulfur and produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and it can also reduce nitrate to nitrite. Helicobacter hepaticus is sensitive to the antibiotic metronidazole which kills anaaerobic bacterias. It is resistant to the antibiotics nalidixic acid and cephalothin. (Rice 129-31)


Helicobacter hepaticus is an enterohepatic bacteria that can "infect the intestinal tracts and biliary trees of various mammals, including mice and humans, and are associated with chronic inflammatory diseases of the intestine, gallstone formation, and malignant transformation." (Sterzenbach)

In mice it is thought to be pathogenic leading to chronic active hepatitis, hepatic carcinoma, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Describe any interactions with other organisms (included eukaryotes), contributions to the environment, effect on environment, etc.


How does this organism cause disease? Human, animal, plant hosts? Virulence factors, as well as patient symptoms.

Application to Biotechnology

Does this organism produce any useful compounds or enzymes? What are they and how are they used?

Current Research

Enter summaries of the most recent research here--at least three required


Rice, Jerry M. "Helicobacter hepaticus, a Recently Recognized Bacterial Pathogen, Associated with Chronic Hepatitis and Hepatocellular Neoplasia in Laboratory Mice." Emerging Infectious Diseases. 1995. Volume 1, No. 4. p. 129-31. ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/EID/vol1no4/adobe/rice.pdf

Sterzenbach T, Lee SK, Brenneke B, von Goetz F, Schauer DB, Fox JG, Suerbaum S, Josenhans C. “Inhibitory Effect of Enterohepatic Helicobacter hepaticus on Innate Immune Responses of Mouse Intestinal Epithelial Cells.” Infection and Immunity. 2007 Jun;75(6):2717-28. Epub 2007 Mar 19. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=17371851&query_hl=15&itool=pubmed_DocSum

Suerbaum S, Josenhans C, Sterzenbach T, Drescher B, Brandt P, Bell M, Droge M, Fartmann B, Fischer HP, Ge Z, Horster A, Holland R, Klein K, Konig J, Macko L, Mendz GL, Nyakatura G, Schauer DB, Shen Z, Weber J, Frosch M, Fox JG. "The complete genome sequence of the carcinogenic bacterium Helicobacter hepaticus.", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2003 Jun 24;100(13):7901-6 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12810954&dopt=Abstract

Edited by Arpan Patel, a student of Rachel Larsen