Navigation Links
Urinary tract infections steal from hosts' defense arsenals
Date:7/8/2012

Humans have known for centuries that copper is a potent weapon against infection. New research shows that the bacteria that cause serious urinary tract infections "know" this, too, and steal copper to prevent the metal from being used against them.

Blocking this thievery with a drug may significantly improve patients' chances of fighting off infections, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings appear online July 8 in Nature Chemical Biology.

In the United States alone, annual treatment costs for urinary tract infections are estimated to run as high as $1.6 billion. Most urinary tract infections are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli).

"While some patients are able to clear these infections without issue, in others the infection persists or recurs despite antibiotic therapy," says senior author Jeff Henderson, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and of molecular microbiology. "In some cases, the infection spreads to the kidney or the blood and becomes life-threatening. We've been investigating what's different about the bacteria that cause these more troublesome infections."

Scientists have known for years that E. coli makes a molecule called yersiniabactin that takes iron from host cells. The bacteria need the iron to grow and reproduce.

In earlier research, Henderson found that the E. coli that cause serious infections are more likely to make yersiniabactin. This finding and the fact that E. coli already produce another molecule that steals iron led Henderson and Kaveri Chaturvedi, a student in his laboratory, to suspect that the bacterium might be using yersiniabactin for other purposes.

To test the theory, the researchers put yersiniabactin in urine samples from healthy patients. They found the molecule bound iron as expected but also picked up copper. Next, they conducted the same analysis in samples from patients with urinary tract infections who were treated at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"We found copper bound to yersiniabactin in nearly every patient whose bacteria made the molecule," Henderson says. "Yersiniabactin was often bound to copper more than it was to iron."

When researchers put E. coli in the same test tube with copper, the bacteria that made yersiniabactin were more likely to survive.

Copper's microbe-fighting properties were recognized long before scientists had described the microbes that cause infection. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians knew that treating wounds with copper improved the healing process.

Modern researchers have two explanations for copper's anti-microbial effects: the metal can stimulate production of other chemically reactive molecules that damage bacteria; and it is also directly toxic to the bacteria.

Henderson, who treats patients with urinary tract infections at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, is currently studying whether the presence or absence of yersiniabactin can help physicians assess an infection's chances of becoming more serious.

He and his colleagues are also looking at other disease-causing bacteria that make yersiniabactin to see if they use it in a fashion similar to the E. coli that cause urinary tract infections.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael C. Purdy
purdym@wustl.edu
314-286-0122
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Beehive extract shows potential as prostate cancer treatment
2. Bigger gorillas better at attracting mates and raising young
3. Mainz University Medical Center attracts funding of Alexander von Humboldt Professorship
4. Unexpected discovery reveals a new mechanism for how the cerebellum extracts signal from noise
5. Pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark extract) shown to improve menopause symptoms in new study
6. Toward an alternative for antibiotics to fight bacterial infections?
7. Innate immune system protein provides a new target in war against bacterial infections
8. Vitamin D supplements may protect against viral infections during the winter
9. To drive infections, a hijacking virus mimics a cells signaling system
10. Stealthy microscopy method visualizes E. coli sub-cellular structure in 3-D
11. Stealing lifes building blocks
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/25/2016)... Pa. , Jan. 25, 2016   Unisys Corporation ... system at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, New ... Protection (CBP) identify imposters attempting to enter the ... not belong to them. pilot testing of the ... initially at three terminals at JFK during January 2016. --> ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... , Jan. 22, 2016 ... addition of the "Global Biometrics Market ... their offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ... "Global Biometrics Market in Retail Sector ... --> Research and Markets ( ...
(Date:1/20/2016)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce the attainment of record-setting ... result of the company,s laser focus on (and growing ... it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use and highly affordable cloud-based technology platform. ... MedNet growth achievements in 2015 include: , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Calif. , Feb. 11, 2016  Dovetail Genomics™ ... to its beta program for a planned metagenomic genome ... present the company,s metagenomic genome assembly method in a ... in Genome Biology & Technology conference in ... of these highly complex datasets is difficult. Using its ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016   BioInformant announces the February 2016 ... Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies – Market Size, Segments, ... The first and only ... industry, BioInformant has more than a decade of historical ... by stem cell type. This powerful 175 page global ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... MIAMI (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... in regenerative medicine, has announced a new agreement with Bankok,Thailand-based Global Stem Cells ... researchers and phsyicians in 15 Latin American countries, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Febr. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ... announce that Mitsui & Co. Ltd., its partner in ... plant, is investing an additional CDN$25 million in the ... stake from 30% to 40%.  Mitsui will also play ... produced in Sarnia , providing dedicated ...
Breaking Biology Technology: