The VacA toxin of Helicobacter pylori identifies a new intermediate filament-interacting protein.
de Bernard M., Moschioni M., Napolitani G., Rappuoli R., Montecucco C.
The VacA toxin produced by Helicobacter pylori acts inside cells and induces the formation of vacuoles arising from late endosomal/lysosomal compartments. Using VacA as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screening of a HeLa cell library, we have identified a novel protein of 54 kDa (VIP54), which interacts specifically with VacA, as indicated by co-immunoprecipitation and binding experiments. VIP54 is expressed in cultured cells and many tissues, with higher expression in the brain, muscle, kidney and liver. Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy with anti-VIP54 affinity- purified antibodies shows a fibrous pattern typical of intermediate filaments. Double label immunofluorescence performed on various cell lines with antibodies specific to different intermediate filament proteins revealed that VIP54 largely co-distributes with vimentin. In contrast to known intermediate filament proteins, VIP54 is predicted to contain approximately 50% of helical segments, but no extended coiled-coil regions. The possible involvement of this novel protein in interactions between intermediate filaments and late endosomal compartments is discussed.