Impact of bacterial infections on aging and cancer: Impairment of DNA repair and mitochondrial function of host cells

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The commensal floras that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract play critical roles in immune responses, energy metabolism, and even cancer prevention. Pathogenic and out of place commensal bacteria, can however have detrimental effects on the host, by introducing genomic instability and mitochondrial dysfunction, which are hallmarks of both aging and cancer. Helicobacter pylori and Enterococcus faecalis are bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract that have been demonstrated to affect these two hallmarks. These, and other bacteria, have been shown to decrease the transcription and translation of essential DNA repair subunits of major DNA repair pathways and increase production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Defects in DNA repair cause mutations and genomic instability and are found in several cancers as well as in progeroid syndromes. This review describes our contemporary view on how bacterial infections impact DNA repair and damage, and the consequence on the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. We argue that in the gastrointestinal tract, these mechanisms can contribute to tumorigenesis as well as cellular aging of the digestive system.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Pages (from-to)164-174
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

ID: 108777164