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Prevalence, molecular characterization and pathogenic potential of hybrid pathogenic Escherichia coli isolates obtained from urinary tract infections

Grant number: 22/16795-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2023
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:Rodrigo Tavanelli Hernandes
Grantee:Guilherme Frizzarin Ramalhães de Souza
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/14821-7 - Exploring novel virulence strategies in Escherichia coli, AP.TEM


Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) comprises the main pathogen associated with cases of urinary tract infections (UTI) that occur both in the hospital environment and in the community. UPEC has several virulence factors that allow this pathogen to colonize in the urinary tract (fimbrial and fimbrial adhesins), evade the immune system (protactins), uptake iron from the host (siderophores) and damage the host epithelial cells (toxins). On the other hand, isolates associated with gastrointestinal infections are collectively termed diarrheagenic E. coli (DEC) and can be grouped into six distinct pathotypes based on their set of virulence factors. Studies focused on the characterization of UPEC have revealed that some isolates may harbor, in their genome, genes encoding virulence factors associated with gastrointestinal infections, evidencing the genomic plasticity of these isolates, which has allowing the construction of hybrid genomes of UPEC with DEC markers (UPEC/DEC). On account of this instigating scenario, our project aims to investigate the prevalence of hybrid UPEC/DEC isolates as the causative agent of UTIs in the city of Botucatu/SP, as well as to provide important molecular and phenotypic features associated with their virulence. Since hybrid isolates have been emerging as causes of different infections in the human host, expanding our knowledge about their diversity, phylogeny, combination of virulence genes and resistance profile includes crucial steps to understand the evolution of these pathogens and elaboration the public health strategies to be adopted in their management.

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