April 12, 2017
The Washington University Center for Women’s Infectious Diseases Research (cWIDR) held its annual symposium December 1, 2016 on the Medical Campus. The event featured research talks by the 2015-16 awardees of the cWIDR Pilot Grant Program, which aims to bring together researchers across departments to focus on topics related to women’s infectious diseases. The center also announced its 2016-17 Pilot Grant awardees: Justin Fay, PhD, associate professor of genetics; and Kristine M. Wylie, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics.
September 17, 2014
The most common type of hospital-associated infection may be preventable with a vaccine, new research in mice suggests.
May 19, 2014
Women plagued by repeated urinary tract infections may be able to prevent the infections with help from over-the-counter painkillers, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
March 28, 2014
December 02, 2013
Extracellular fibers called chaperone-usher pathway pili are critical virulence factors in a wide range of Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria that facilitate binding and invasion into host tissues and mediate biofilm formation. Chaperone-usher pathway ushers, which catalyze pilus assembly, contain five functional domains: a 24-stranded transmembrane β-barrel translocation domain (TD), a β-sandwich plug domain (PLUG), an N-terminal periplasmic domain, and two C-terminal periplasmic domains (CTD1 and 2). Pore gating occurs by a mechanism whereby the PLUG resides stably within the TD pore when the usher is inactive and then upon activation is translocated into the periplasmic space, where it functions in pilus assembly.
September 24, 2013
This article details the fine-tuning of host interactions by alterations in positively selected residues in the adhesin FimH. The evolution of multidrug resistance in pathogenic bacteria, including uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), that cause most urinary tract infections is becoming a worldwide crisis. UPEC use a variety of virulence factors and adhesins, including the mannose-binding FimH adhesin, to colonize and invade bladder tissue, often forming intracellular biofilms and quiescent reservoirs that can contribute to recurrent infections recalcitrant to treatment. Using two prototypical UPEC strains, we discovered that positively selected residues outside of the FimH mannose-binding pocket affect transitions between low- and high-affinity FimH conformations, which extraordinarily impacts FimH function during pathogenesis. Thus, this work elucidates mechanistic and functional insights into pathoadaptation and evolutionary fine-tuning of critical virulence interactions. PDF
September 04, 2013
During her lifetime, an adult woman has a 50% chance of developing a urinary tract infection one of the most common types of infections (1). Most urinary tract infections are caused by strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli, and, for the most part, are easily treated with antibiotics. However, many of these infections become chronic or recurrent because of increasing antibiotic resistance and a variety of other pathogen and host related factors, leaving few treatment options. Scott J. Hultgren, a professor of molecular microbiology and director of the Center for Women’s Infectious Diseases Research at Washington University in St. Louis, investigates the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria establish infections in the urinary tract and evade the body’s innate defenses. PDF
February 01, 2013
The introduction of antibiotics into clinical practice in the 1950s led to the presumption that bacterial infectious diseases would become a ‘thing of the past’. While antibiotics have resulted in major decreases in morbidity and mortality in the subsequent decades, the global burden of infectious diseases remains one of the largest challenges facing the international biomedical community. Bacterial diseases that were thought to be defeated are still major health care problems. For example, tuberculosis kills an estimated 3 million individuals per year. Diarrheal diseases, some of which are caused by bacterial infections such as cholera, still affect numerous individuals with severe effects on children in the developing world. Most worrying is the increasing prevalence of bacterial pathogens that are resistant to multiple antibiotics, including some that are resistant to all known antibiotics. Thus, there is a desperate need for novel strategies to successfully treat bacterial infections. PDF
October 30, 2012
By Michael C. Purdy Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a five-year, $5.3 million grant to explore the way gender and age influence susceptibility to urinary tract infections (UTIs), one of the most common bacterial infections. The grant is funded by the Office of Research in Women’s Health (ORWH) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). With the funding, Scott J. Hultgren, PhD, the Helen L. Stoever Professor of Molecular Microbiology and director of the Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research, will lead a multidisciplinary team of scientists investigating the underlying mechanisms of these infections. PDF
November 16, 2011
By Michael C. Purdy An experimental treatment for urinary tract infections has easily passed its first test in animals, alleviating weeks-long infections in mice in as little as six hours. “This drug can block the spread of the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections far better than any other previously reported compound,” says senior author Scott J. Hultgren, PhD, the Helen L Stoever Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “If it has similar effects in humans, the potential applications would be very exciting.” PDF
May 24, 2011
Scott Hultgren was elected into the National Academy of Sciences in May 2011. He signed the membership book in 2012 (video).