Background: In addition to antibiotic resistance, the entry of Helicobacter pylori into the persistence phase leads to recurrent and chronic infections, as well as the development of antibiotic resistance in persister cells.
Methods: In this study, after genetic confirmation of H. pylori in 20 biopsy specimens, the prevalence of the type II TA systems mazEF, relEB, yafQ/dinJ was investigated. Also, the most common system observed in the study in terms of structure, evolution, and molecular interaction was evaluated by bioinformatics tools.
Results: The results of the PCR test on 20 biopsy samples were positive for ureA and glmM genes. Moreover, yafQ/ dinJ was the only module positive in half of the samples (10 samples) in the PCR technique. The toxin residues and their interactions with the cognate antitoxin residues are revealed by docking analysis results. Furthermore, the multiple sequence alignment (MSA) of the YafQ toxin showed that this toxin has a low polymorphism among H. pylori species. The evolutionary study showed that the yafQ toxin had the highest sequence similarity among the bacteria Helicobacter cetorm (60% similarity) and Muricauda olearia (57.35 % similarity).
Conclusions: Collectively, the data of the present study indicate that the YafQ/DinJ is the dominant type II TA system and has the highest frequency among the studied systems in H. pylori, and further studies are required to elucidate its exact role in this bacterium.