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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jan 25;102(4):1145-50. Epub 2005 Jan 14.

Imaging bacterial infections with radiolabeled 1-(2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodouracil.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


Bacterial infections provide diagnostic dilemmas that could be enlightened by modern imaging technologies. We have developed a simple method for imaging bacterial infections in mice that relies on the phosphorylation and trapping of the thymidine kinase (TK) substrate 1-(2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)-5-[125I] iodouracil ([125I]FIAU) within bacteria. FIAU was found to inhibit the growth of WT Escherichia coli but not a TK- strain, indicating that WT E. coli could metabolize this compound. In silico analyses demonstrated that all pathogenic strains of bacteria whose genomes have been sequenced contain a TK gene highly homologous to the E. coli TK. Accordingly, we demonstrated that localized infections caused by representatives of five genera of bacteria could be readily imaged with [125I]FIAU. Such imaging provides a general method for the diagnosis of localized bacterial infections that could be translatable to the clinic.

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