Vacuolating Cytotoxin of Helicobacter pylori

Document Type : Review Paper


Biotechnology Research Center, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran.


Vacuolating cytotoxin (VacA) is one of the most important virulence factors of H. pylori (Hp), which is
the only toxic protein that is secreted from Hp cell into the culture supernatant. The effects of VacA on
eukaryotic systems is the subject of many previous and on going research studies. Intracellular targets
for this toxin include: late endosomal and lysosomal compartments, mitochondria, cell-cell junctions and
phospholipid bilayers. Its effects on these targets include vacuolation of late endosomal and lysosomal
compartments, apoptosis and channel formation, which result in the increase of ion uptake specially
anions. The aim of this review is to increase the perception on this toxin and its functions.