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Studying the presence of virulence markers in Escherichia coli strains isolated from the gut microbiota of patients with urinary tract infection

Grant number: 19/21685-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2020
Effective date (End): April 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Biology and Physiology of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Tânia Aparecida Tardelli Gomes do Amaral
Grantee:José Francisco Santos Neto
Home Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Escherichia coli is a globally distributed bacterium that colonizes the gut. E. coli strains can be divided into three groups: commensals, which are harmless to the host; diarrheagenic (diarrheagenic E. coli-DEC), which cause intestinal diseases; and those which cause extraintestinal infections (extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli-ExPEC). ExPEC strains are classified according to the site of infection, with those associated with urinary infections (uropathogenic E. coli-UPEC) being the most frequent. Antibiotic resistance has become a worldwide public health concern; in this sense, E. coli strains resistant to those antimicrobial drugs commonly used in human treatment have been detected in the gut of healthy individuals. Some studies have shown that the ExPEC genomes are largely diversified and the horizontal transfer of virulence genes from DEC to ExPEC has been reported, leading to the emergence of hybrid strains, which would potentially cause more severe extraintestinal infections or even intestinal infections in the same patient. However, few studies are investigating the occurrence of ExPEC, DEC and/or hybrid strains colonizing the intestinal microbiota of individuals with urinary tract infections. In this study, the occurrence of virulence markers of DEC and ExPEC, as well as the antimicrobial susceptibility profile, will be analyzed in fecal E. coli isolates from the intestinal microbiota of hospitalized patients with different types of urinary tract infection. The occurrence of hybrid strains in these patients will be also assessed and their participation in the development of the infection evaluated. Studies focusing on bacterial virulence and antimicrobial resistance are important to improve the management of these highly relevant diseases worldwide. (AU)