Indexed on: 10 Nov '15Published on: 10 Nov '15Published in: Scientific Reports
During urinary tract infection (UTI), the second most common bacterial infection, dynamic interactions take place between uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) and host urothelial cells. While significant strides have been made in the identification of the virulence factors of UPEC, our understanding of how the urothelial cells mobilize innate defenses against the invading UPEC remains rudimentary. Here we show that mouse urothelium responds to the adhesion of type 1-fimbriated UPEC by rapidly activating the canonical NF-κB selectively in terminally differentiated, superficial (umbrella) cells. This activation depends on a dual ligand/receptor system, one between FimH adhesin and uroplakin Ia and another between lipopolysaccharide and Toll-like receptor 4. When activated, all the nuclei (up to 11) of a multinucleated umbrella cell are affected, leading to significant amplification of proinflammatory signals. Intermediate and basal cells of the urothelium undergo NF-κB activation only if the umbrella cells are detached or if the UPEC persistently express type 1-fimbriae. Inhibition of NF-κB prevents the urothelium from clearing the intracellular bacterial communities, leading to prolonged bladder colonization by UPEC. Based on these data, we propose a model of dual ligand/receptor system in innate urothelial defenses against UPEC.