In recent years, multiple studies have examined the bacterial communities present in the gastric microbiota during the progression to gastric cancer (GC). Although Helicobacter pylori is the biggest risk factor for GC, the microbiota of GC comprises a decreased load of H. pylori and an enrichment of bacteria, such as Prevotella spp., Veillonella spp., Actinomyces spp. However, interactions between H. pylori and these cancer-associated bacteria is hugely understudied. Here, we have used hypoxic growth conditions (5 % O2) to investigate polymicrobial interactions between cancer-associated bacteria and H. pylori in vitro. We found that whilst the co-culture of H. pylori with Prevotella spp. and Veillonella spp. had no effect on growth of either bacteria, Actinomyces oris completely inhibited the growth of H. pylori. Moreover, A. oris did not inhibit the growth of other Gram-negative pathogens such as Salmonella Typhimurium and E. coli, whilst there was a slight growth inhibition of Campylobacter jejuni. Furthermore, ultrafiltration of A. oris culture supernatants revealed that inhibition is mediated by a secreted factor larger than 5 kDa, which can be heat inactivated. Interestingly, Actinomyces viscosus can also specifically kill H. pylori suggesting that this inhibition could be conserved across the Actinomyces genus. We are currently identifying the inhibitory factor responsible for inhibiting H. pylori growth. Furthermore, we are investigating whether A. oris can clear gastric H. pylori infection in a mouse model of infection and the implications of this on gastric carcinogenesis. In conclusion, whilst data-rich microbiota studies continue to thrive, it is imperative that we understand the mechanisms underpinning changes to the gastric microbiota and whether these bacteria are drivers or ‘passengers’ of gastric carcinogenesis.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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