Urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by E.coli triggers inflammation through FimH protein attachments on the cell surfaces. Most common among women, UTIs are typically caused by E.coli bacteria. The infection takes place when E.coli travel though the urethra to the bladder. UTIs can be quite painful and result in burning sensations when urinating, lower back pain, and urinary frequency. The research teams at the Biozentrum and the Pharmazentrum of the University of Basel and the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the ETH Zurich, have found how bacteria attach to the urinary tract through the protein FimH, which allows them to travel up the urethra.
Sitting at the tip of a bacterium’s extension, FimH forms a tiny hook to attach to the cell surface of the urinary tract. What so special about FimH is its characteristic ability to bind even stronger to the cell surface while being pulled away. That’s why, instead of being pushed out during urination, FimH protects the bacterium, which ultimately ends up in the urethra.
Researcher Professor Rudolf Glockshuber said, “Through the combination of several biophysical and biochemical methods, we have been able to elucidate the binding behavior of FimH in more detail than ever before.”
Fellow researcher Professor Timm Maier said, “The protein FimH is composed of two parts, of which the second non-sugar binding part regulates how tightly the first part binds to the sugar molecule. When the force of the urine stream pulls apart the two protein domains, the sugar binding site snaps shut. However, when the tensile force subsides, the binding pocket reopens. Now the bacteria can detach and swim upstream the urethra.”
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to treat UTIs, but research is underway for developing a treatment that targets E.coli to help prevent FimH from latching on. Shedding some light on the mechanism of the UTI development, the new findings will hopefully contribute to more effective treatments.
The good news is, there are natural remedies for UTIs. So if you act promptly upon noticing the first symptoms such as burning when you urinate, you can get rid of your UTI at the onset. Here’s what to do:
Try all these home remedies to keep your bladder in top form. They’re easier than you think – and a more natural fix than turning to your doctor for a prescription. So the next time you’re rushing to the bathroom, be aware of urinary tract infection symptoms, just in case, and enjoy your cranberry juice.