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The Synergistic Role of Tip α, Nucleolin and Ras in Helicobacter pylori Infection Regulates the Cell Fate Towards Inflammation or Apoptosis

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Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) leads to a fork in the road situation where it is critical and complex to judge the fate of the cell. We propose for the first time an in silico representation of a protein level network model that can unfold the mystery behind the cell fate decision between inflammation or cell proliferation or cell death. Upon infection TNF inducible protein α (Tip α) is internalised after binding with the cell surface receptor Nucleolin which is overexpressed on the cell surface thereby activating the Ras pathway. Tip α, Nucleolin and Ras decides the cell fate for apoptosis or abnormal cell proliferation along with ulcers in the gastric tract, hence we term it as the “death triad”, which otherwise triggers the inflammatory pathway through downstream signalling of NF-κβ. A series of proteins involved in the signalling cascade are portrayed through compartmentalization of the bacteria and the gut wall. The depicted network works synchronously toward an overarching goal of deciding between apoptosis or inflammation or proliferation. The model has been validated by simulating it with existing transcriptomic data along with clinical findings from patients infected with H. pylori across different regions in India. The results clearly indicate that for a short period of time there is increased binding of Tip α to Nucleolin and the receptor starts to saturate. This increases the tenacity of binding and the cell triggers an inflammatory cascade reaction which involves proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF α thereby progressing to inflammation by activating NF-κβ downstream. On the other hand, Ras involved in interaction with nucleolin can be present both in its activated or inactivated state. Binding of Tip α as a monomer leads to desensitization of Nucleolin leading to cell survival and proliferation.

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Data Availability

The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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We would like to acknowledge Dr Ashok K. Chauhan, Founder President, Amity University, for providing the infrastructure and support to carry out our research work. We also thank, Mr Pranav Patni of Amity Institute of Biotechnology for his commendable help.


This study has been funded by ICMR (5/13/16/2015/NCD-III). Dr. Amlan Chakraborty is a postdoctoral research fellow and is funded through an NHMRC grant.

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Authors and Affiliations



RD and SB have given the concept of association between Tip α and Nucleolin. SM & AC have performed the experiments, analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. RD and VG have revised the manuscript. AS has done the part of the docking analysis. SM has done the part of the expression analysis. AKM has provided the samples for expression profiling. KD has conceptualised the idea clinically and corrected the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Sudeep Bose or Rajashree Das.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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This study was approved by institutional ethical committee of Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Noida, U.P, dated 2-12-2015 and National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata (A-1/2016-IEC, dated 22-12-2016).

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Mahant, S., Chakraborty, A., Som, A. et al. The Synergistic Role of Tip α, Nucleolin and Ras in Helicobacter pylori Infection Regulates the Cell Fate Towards Inflammation or Apoptosis. Curr Microbiol 78, 3720–3732 (2021).

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