Proteus mirabilisuroepithelial cell adhesin (UCA) fimbria plays a role in the colonization of the urinary tract

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Abstract

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections in humans. Proteus mirabilis is an opportunistic pathogen, capable of causing severe UTIs, with serious kidney damage that may even lead to death. Several virulence factors are involved in the pathogenicity of this bacterium. Among these, adherence to the uroepithelium mediated by fimbriae appears to be a significant bacterial attribute related to urovirulence. Proteus mirabilis expresses several types of fimbriae that could be involved in the pathogenesis of UTI, including uroepithelial cell adhesin (UCA). In this report, we used an uropathogenic P. mirabilis wild-type strain and an isogenic ucaA mutant unable to express UCA to study the pathogenic role of this fimbria in UTI. Ability of the mutant to adhere to desquamated uroepithelial cells and to infect mice using different experimental UTI models was significantly impaired. These results allow us to conclude that P. mirabilis UCA plays an important role in the colonization of the urinary tract.

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