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Infect Immun. 2012 Sep;80(9):3145-60. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00023-12. Epub 2012 Jun 25.

Genome-wide mapping of cystitis due to Streptococcus agalactiae and Escherichia coli in mice identifies a unique bladder transcriptome that signifies pathogen-specific antimicrobial defense against urinary tract infection.

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School of Medical Sciences, and Griffith Health Institute, Centre for Medicine and Oral Health, Griffith University, Southport, Australia.


The most common causes of urinary tract infections (UTIs) are Gram-negative pathogens such as Escherichia coli; however, Gram-positive organisms, including Streptococcus agalactiae, or group B streptococcus (GBS), also cause UTI. In GBS infection, UTI progresses to cystitis once the bacteria colonize the bladder, but the host responses triggered in the bladder immediately following infection are largely unknown. Here, we used genome-wide expression profiling to map the bladder transcriptome of GBS UTI in mice infected transurethrally with uropathogenic GBS that was cultured from a 35-year-old women with cystitis. RNA from bladders was applied to Affymetrix Gene-1.0ST microarrays; quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to analyze selected gene responses identified in array data sets. A surprisingly small significant-gene list of 172 genes was identified at 24 h; this compared to 2,507 genes identified in a side-by-side comparison with uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC). No genes exhibited significantly altered expression at 2 h in GBS-infected mice according to arrays despite high bladder bacterial loads at this early time point. The absence of a marked early host response to GBS juxtaposed with broad-based bladder responses activated by UPEC at 2 h. Bioinformatics analyses, including integrative system-level network mapping, revealed multiple activated biological pathways in the GBS bladder transcriptome that regulate leukocyte activation, inflammation, apoptosis, and cytokine-chemokine biosynthesis. These findings define a novel, minimalistic type of bladder host response triggered by GBS UTI, which comprises collective antimicrobial pathways that differ dramatically from those activated by UPEC. Overall, this study emphasizes the unique nature of bladder immune activation mechanisms triggered by distinct uropathogens.

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