Intracellular Bacterial Biofilm-Like Pods in Urinary Tract Infections

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Science  04 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5629, pp. 105-107
DOI: 10.1126/science.1084550

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Escherichia coli entry into the bladder is met with potent innate defenses, including neutrophil influx and epithelial exfoliation. Bacterial subversion of innate responses involves invasion into bladder superficial cells. We discovered that the intracellular bacteria matured into biofilms, creating pod-like bulges on the bladder surface. Pods contained bacteria encased in a polysaccharide-rich matrix surrounded by a protective shell of uroplakin. Within the biofilm, bacterial structures interacted extensively with the surrounding matrix, and biofilm associated factors had regional variation in expression. The discovery of intracellular biofilm-like pods explains how bladder infections can persist in the face of robust host defenses.

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