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Cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 (CNF1) and hemolysin (HlyA1) are toxins produced by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC). We previously showed that these toxins contribute to the inflammation and tissue damage seen in a mouse model of ascending urinary tract infection. CNF1 constitutively activates small Rho GTPases by deamidation of a conserved glutamine residue, and HlyA1 forms pores in eukaryotic cell membranes. In this study, we used cDNA microarrays of bladder tissue isolated from mice infected intraurethrally with wild-type CP9, CP9cnf1, or CP9ΔhlyA to further evaluate the role that each toxin plays in the host response to UPEC. Regardless of the strain used, we found that UPEC itself elicited a significant change in host gene expression 24 h after inoculation. The largest numbers of upregulated genes were in the cytokine and chemokine signaling and Toll-like receptor signaling pathways. CNF1 exerted a strong positive influence on expression of genes involved in innate immunity and signal transduction and a negative impact on metabolism- and transport-associated genes. HlyA1 evoked an increase in expression of genes that encode innate immunity factors and a decrease in expression of genes involved in cytoskeletal and metabolic processes. Multiplex cytokine and myeloperoxidase assays corroborated our finding that a strong proinflammatory response was elicited by all strains tested. Bladders challenged intraurethrally with purified CNF1 displayed pathology similar to but significantly less intense than the pathology that we observed in CP9-challenged mice. Our data demonstrate substantial roles for CNF1 and HlyA1 in initiation of a strong proinflammatory response to UPEC in the bladder.


Tamako A Garcia, Christy L Ventura, Mark A Smith, D Scott Merrell, Alison D O'Brien. Cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 and hemolysin from uropathogenic Escherichia coli elicit different host responses in the murine bladder. Infection and immunity. 2013 Jan;81(1):99-109

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PMID: 23090961

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