Recurrent UTIs linked to hidden reservoir

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 host cell for bacterial uptake.

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