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Infect Immun. 2010 Feb;78(2):568-85. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01000-09. Epub 2009 Nov 16.

Waging war against uropathogenic Escherichia coli: winning back the urinary tract.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 5641 Medical Science Building II, 1150 West Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0620, USA.


Urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) is a substantial economic and societal burden-a formidable public health issue. Symptomatic UTI causes significant discomfort in infected patients, results in lost productivity, predisposes individuals to more serious infections, and usually necessitates antibiotic therapy. There is no licensed vaccine available for prevention of UTI in humans in the United States, likely due to the challenge of targeting a relatively heterogeneous group of pathogenic strains in a unique physiological niche. Despite significant advances in the understanding of UPEC biology, mechanistic details regarding the host response to UTI and full comprehension of genetic loci that influence susceptibility require additional work. Currently, there is an appreciation for the role of classic innate immune responses-from pattern receptor recognition to recruitment of phagocytic cells-that occur during UPEC-mediated UTI. There is, however, a clear disconnect regarding how factors involved in the innate immune response to UPEC stimulate acquired immunity that facilitates enhanced clearance upon reinfection. Unraveling the molecular details of this process is vital in the development of a successful vaccine for prevention of human UTI. Here, we survey the current understanding of host responses to UPEC-mediated UTI with an eye on molecular and cellular factors whose activity may be harnessed by a vaccine that stimulates lasting and sterilizing immunity.

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