08 May 2013
Genomic Diversity and Fitness of E. coli Strains Recovered from the Intestinal and Urinary Tracts of Women with Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection
[Washington University in St. Louis] Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in women, and recurrence is a major clinical problem. Most UTIs are caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC). UPEC are generally thought to migrate from the gut to the bladder to cause UTI. UPEC form specialized intracellular bacterial communities in the bladder urothelium as part of a pathogenic mechanism to establish a foothold during acute stages of infection. Evolutionarily, such a specific adaptation to the bladder environment would be predicted to result in decreased fitness in other habitats, such as the gut. To examine this prediction, we characterized 45 E. coli strains isolated from the feces and urine of four otherwise healthy women with recurrent UTI.