Potential role of phase variation of type 1 pili in urinary tract infection and bacterial prostatitis

A. J. Schaeffer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Adherence of Escherichia coli to uroepithelial cells is an important step in the pathogenesis of urinary tract infection. The process is frequently mediated by pili which undergo phase variation in response to changes in environmental growth conditions in vitro. It is possible that phase variation of pili and other bacterial virulence factors may play a role in the pathogenesis of bacterial prostatitis. The obvious differences in the environmental conditions of urethra, bladder, and prostate could favor strains that have the ability to adapt. For example, adhesion to the urethral and bladder mucosa could be facilitated by pili and their expression could be advantageous in the early phase of prostatitis. However, after the prostate ducts are colonized, pili may be detrimental since they can render E. coli more susceptible to phagocytosis. Further studies on phase variation of virulence factors of bacteria that cause prostatitis appear warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S144-S149
Issue number3 Supplement
StatePublished - May 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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