Small molecule vaccine protects against UTI in mice

A vaccine using siderophores reduced bacterial burden in the urine and kidneys of mice, researchers report.

Micrograph of Escherichia coli

The management of chronic urinary tract infections (UTI), which are primarily caused by Escherichia coli, is threatened by antibiotic resistance and a lack of effective vaccines.

In recent research, a team from the University of Michigan developed a vaccine using siderophores – small molecules secreted by E. coli that are critical for the establishment of a UTI and help the bacteria capture iron from the host. The team tested the vaccine in mice by immunising them with two siderophore types coupled to a carrier protein.

When the mice were exposed to E. coli, the vaccination resulted in a 14-fold reduction in bacterial burden in the urine and a 126-fold reduction in bacterial burden in the kidneys, compared with controls.

Reporting their results in PNAS
(online, 7 November 2016), the researchers say their results demonstrate the potential for bacterial-derived small molecules to act as antigens in vaccines.


[1] Mike LA, Smith SN, Sumner CA et al. Siderophore vaccine conjugates protect against uropathogenic Escherichia coli urinary tract infection. PNAS 2016. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1606324113

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, December 2016, Vol 8, No 12;8(12):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201985

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