Carbohydrate-Dependent and Antimicrobial Peptide Defence Mechanisms Against Helicobacter pylori Infections

  • Médea Padra
  • John Benktander
  • Karen RobinsonEmail author
  • Sara K. LindénEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 421)


The human stomach is a harsh and fluctuating environment for bacteria with hazards such as gastric acid and flow through of gastric contents into the intestine. H. pylori gains admission to a stable niche with nutrient access from exudates when attached to the epithelial cells under the mucus layer, whereof adherence to glycolipids and other factors provides stable and intimate attachment. To reach this niche, H. pylori must overcome mucosal defence mechanisms including the continuously secreted mucus layer, which provides several layers of defence: (1) mucins in the mucus layer can bind H. pylori and transport it away from the gastric niche with the gastric emptying, (2) mucins can inhibit H. pylori growth, both via glycans that can have antibiotic like function and via an aggregation-dependent mechanism, (3) antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have antimicrobial activity and are retained in a strategic position in the mucus layer and (4) underneath the mucus layer, the membrane-bound mucins provide a second barrier, and can function as releasable decoys. Many of these functions are dependent on H. pylori interactions with host glycan structures, and both the host glycosylation and concentration of antimicrobial peptides change with infection and inflammation, making these interactions dynamic. Here, we review our current understanding of mucin glycan and antimicrobial peptide-dependent host defence mechanisms against H. pylori infection.


Helicobacter pylori Mucus Carbohydrate Adhesion Antimicrobial peptides 



This work was supported by the Swedish research council Formas (221-2013-590), the Swedish Cancer Society, the RR Julin and WM Lundgren Foundations. KR is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), through the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, University of Nottingham and the University Hospitals NHS Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska AcademyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Centre for Biomolecular SciencesUniversity of Nottingham, University ParkNottinghamUK

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