Navigation Links
WPI research shows how cranberry juice fights bacteria at the molecular level

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Revealing the science behind the homespun advice, a team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has identified and measured the molecular forces that enable cranberry juice to fight off urinary tract infections in people.

The data is reported in the paper "Direct adhesion force measurements between E. coli and human uroepithelial cells in cranberry juice cocktail," which was published on-line, ahead of print, by the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. The research illuminates the basic mechanics of E.coli infections, which has implications for developing new antibiotic drugs and infection-resistant materials for invasive medical devices.

The research team led by Terri Camesano, professor of chemical engineering at WPI, focuses on the virulent form of E. coli bacteria that is the primary cause of most urinary tract infections. This strain of E. coli is covered with small hair-like projections known as fimbriae, which act like hooks and latch onto cells that line the urinary tract. When enough of the virulent E. coli adhere to cells in this way, they cause an infection. Previous work by Camesano has shown that exposure to cranberry juice causes the fimbriae on E. coli to curl up, reducing their ability to attach to urinary tract cells. In the new study, Camesano's team presents the first specific measurements of the mechanical forces involved in the attachment of the virulent E. coli to human urinary tract cells. The study also documents how the force of attachment is reduced in the presence of cranberry juice cocktail. "This is not a clinical studyit's a mechanical study that shows us the direct forces that can lead to infection," Camesano said.

To make measurements at the molecular level, Camesano's team developed a method to attach a single E. coli cell to the tip of a probe mounted on a device called an atomic force microscope (AFM). The probe was then dipped in a solution containing human uroepithelial cells, which line the urinary tract. The fimbriae on the E. coli latched onto to specific structures on the human cells, similar to the way the two halves of a Velcro fastener come together. The probe on the AFM was then pulled away from the human cells, measuring the amount of force needed to tear the E. coli away. "We know, on average, how many fimbriae are on each E. coli cell. And the total force we measured correlates with that number. So the data lead us to believe that the fimbriae each bind to a specific receptor on the uroepithelial cells," Camesano said.

The experiment was repeated numerous times with solutions containing human cells and various concentrations of commercially available cranberry juice cocktail. The data showed that the attachment force of the virulent E. coli weakened as the amount of cranberry juice cocktail increased. The study also showed that a strain of E. coli without fimbriae did not bind well to the human urinary tract cells, regardless of the concentration of cranberry juice cocktail, providing further evidence that fimbriae are essential for infection.

Furthermore, Camesano's team found that in the absence of cranberry juice, the strength of the virulent E. coli's bond to the human cells was so strong that it could not be broken by the typical force of urine flowing through a person's urinary tract. However, as the cranberry juice concentration increased, the bond weakened to the point where the E. coli could be stripped away by the force of flowing urine. "The shear force created by flowing urine is a defense mechanism against urinary tract infection," Camesano said.

Since bacterial adhesion is required for infection, Camesano said understanding the specific mechanisms and forces involved will help direct future studies aimed at identifying potential drug targets for new antibiotics. The data may also be useful in studies aimed at engineering the surfaces of invasive medical devices like catheters to make them more resistant to bacterial adhesion.


Contact: Michael Cohen
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Related biology news :

1. LSU researcher looks for new ways to keep a dirty situation clean
2. Grant to fund research into eradicating the leukemia stem cell
3. Montana State researchers say Triceratops, Torsaurus were same dinosaur at different stages
4. UCI receives prestigious federal research award to hasten medical advances
5. International AIDS Society announces inaugural recipients of innovative HIV research awards
6. New research on rapidly-disappearing ancient plant offers hope for species recovery
7. CWRU dental researchers discover human beta defensins-3 ignite in oral cancer growth
8. In the ring: Researchers fighting bacterial infections zero in on microorganisms soft spots
9. The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation awards $1.54 million in research grants for 2010-2011
10. InQ Biosciences Introduces First Fully Integrated Cell Research System
11. Penn State to lead new international Center Of Excellence for malaria research
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
WPI research shows how cranberry juice fights bacteria at the molecular level
(Date:11/4/2015)... --> --> ... Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - Global Industry ... 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected to reach ... market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of ... Rising security needs among customers at homes, the emergence ...
(Date:10/29/2015)...  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) policy group ... Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the Future," which ... Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has worked since ... --> --> Synthetic biology promises great ... pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is easier than ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... driving the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and ... new book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... sensors or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, ... of health care delivery, moving care from the hospital ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Md. , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. ... Directors has adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) ... net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 of ... --> PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs ... "ownership change" as defined in Section 382 of the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Studies reveal the ... plaque and pave the way for more effective treatment for ...     --> --> ... health problems in cats, yet relatively little was understood about ... studies have been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX ... and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting at ... New York . .   ... approximately 5 minutes prior to the presentation to download ... presentation will be available on the website approximately one ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... A long-standing partnership between ... (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. , ... leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at ...
Breaking Biology Technology: