More than half of the world’s population carries the bacterium Helicobacter pylori in their stomach mucosa. It often causes no problems throughout life, but sometimes it can cause inflammation, and in some cases, it can even lead to the development of stomach cancer.
Helicobacter pylori uses several “virulence” factors that allow it to survive in the stomach and can lead to the development of disease. In this issue of the journal Molecular Cell, Professor Cynthia Sharma’s research team report that multiple of these factors are centrally regulated by a small RNA molecule called NikS. Prof. Sharma heads the Chair for Molecular Infection Biology II at Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany.