Recurrent UTIs linked to hidden reservoir

e coli
Escherichia coli. Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) frequently recur due to bacteria constructing safe havens within the host. While infection is frequently caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli that originates in the gut, little is known regarding vaginal colonization leading to recurrent UTIs.

John Brannon, Ph.D., Maria Hadjifrangiskou, Ph.D., and colleagues demonstrated that UTI-causing bacteria not only invaded vaginal cells to create a reservoir and escape antibiotic assault, but also traversed from the reproductive tract to the urinary system.

The team also found that vaginal cell invasion occurs by a separate mechanism than bladder infection, requiring a different signaling pathway to remodel the for bacterial uptake.

These findings, reported in Nature Communications, elucidate a new stage in UTI progression with a unique mode of vaginal cell invasion to create a protective niche for the bacteria and a reservoir for reestablishing infection. The vaginal niche constitutes a potential new avenue exploited by E. coli to cause recurrent urinary tract infection.

More information: John R. Brannon et al. Invasion of vaginal epithelial cells by uropathogenic Escherichia coli, Nature Communications (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16627-5

Journal information: Nature Communications

Citation: Recurrent UTIs linked to hidden reservoir (2020, July 10) retrieved 25 March 2023 from
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