Helicobacter pylori: Chronic infection with this gastric pathogen can result in diverse clinical outcomes including gastritis, gastric ulceration and gastric cancer. Non-gastric manifestations of infection include iron deficiency, particularly in developing countries where infection rates are high (Fig.1). The mechanisms of H. pylori interaction with host iron-storage and transport proteins are being investigated using a variety of isogenic mutants. We have demonstrated that many of the H. pylori iron transport proteins are essential for colonisation in vivo and thus represent candidate vaccines.
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Fig. 1 Potential cycle of childhood H. pylori infection in developing countries leading to iron deficiency and growth stunting.
Fusobacterium spp: A second area of research focuses on bacteria associated with colorectal cancer. Recent studies by others on the microbiota associated with gastrointestinal diseases implicate several species of bacteria in these processes. Fusobacteria have a central role in mediating the co-aggregation of multiple bacterial species (Fig. 2) and are associated with several human diseases.
Fig. 2 Image (100X) of filamentous Fusobacteria with adherent Gram positive bacilli (dark cells).