LeuX tRNA-dependent and -independent mechanisms of Escherichia coli pathogenesis in acute cystitis

Thomas J. Hannan, Indira U. Mysorekar, Swaine L. Chen, Jennifer N. Walker, Jennifer M. Jones, Jerome S. Pinkner, Scott J. Hultgren, Patrick C. Seed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) contain multiple horizontally acquired pathogenicity-associated islands (PAI) implicated in the pathogenesis of urinary tract infection. In a murine model of cystitis, type 1 pili-mediated bladder epithelial invasion and intracellular proliferation are key events associated with UPEC virulence. In this study, we examined the mechanisms by which a conserved PAI contributes to UPEC pathogenesis in acute cystitis. In the human UPEC strain UTI89, spontaneous excision of PAI IIUTI89 disrupts the adjacent leuX tRNA locus. Loss of wild-type leuX-encoded tRNA 5Leu significantly delayed, but did not eliminate, FimB recombinase-mediated phase variation of type 1 pili. FimX, an additional FimB-like, leuX-independent recombinase, was also found to mediate type 1 pili phase variation. However, whereas FimX activity is relatively slow in vitro, it is rapid in vivo as a non-piliated strain lacking the other fim recombinases rapidly expressed type 1 pili upon experimental infection. Finally, we found that disruption of leuX, but not loss of PAI IIUTI89 genes, reduced bladder epithelial invasion and intracellular proliferation, independent of type 1 piliation. These findings indicate that the predominant mechanism for preservation of PAI IIUTI89 during the establishment of acute cystitis is maintenance of wild-type leuX, and not PAI IIUTI89 gene content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-128
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

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