Understanding E. coli infections

E. coli is the most common cause of urinary tract infections such as cystitis. Some people have an underlying genetic susceptibility to these infections and an understanding of the complete immunological response to these bacteria would be extremely valuable. Dr Glen Ulett and his group at Griffith University has examined the response of bladder tissue to E. coli infection in a mouse model and his recently published work reports that the activity of 1564 genes was altered on infection.

Scanning electron microscopy of infected bladders carried out in the AMMRF at the University of Queensland allowed Dr Ulett and his team to see the extent and nature of the bladder tissue damage caused by the bacterial infection. Armed with that knowledge he was able to correlate his observations with the extensive bank of genetic data. This work has generated a great deal of new information on which to base future studies into the variability of human responses to E. coli infection and to pinpoint more accurately potential targets for immune therapies in order to treat these infections. The research was published in the Journal of Immunology with a striking scanning electron micrograph from the study used on the journal’s cover.

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