Sunday, 17 July 2011

Indian team sequences Indian strain of Uropathogenic Escherichia coli NA114 genome

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: A team of researchers from the University of Hyderabad has sequenced the genome of the Indian strain of Uropathogenic Escherichia coli that lives in the urinary tract unlike its cousins, which colonise the intestines. This UPEC Indian strain NA114 is resistant to a number of antibiotics and difficult to treat.
Since UPEC lives in the urinary tract it does not cause diarrhoea or vomiting. However, it causes urinary tract infection, sometimes serious. This Indian strain of UPEC is highly drug resistant and problematic to treat, though it is not life-threatening unlike other virulent E coli strains. The sequencing of genome by the city team will help in better understanding of the pathogen and unravel the mystery of what makes it resistant to an array of antibiotics. It will also boost research on development of new drugs and 
vaccines.
The team involved in the genome sequence comprised TS Avasthi, Narender Kumar, Ramani Baddam, Arif Hussain, Nishant Nandanwar, and Niyaz Ahmed of University of Hyderabad, and Savita Jadhav from Dr DY Patil University, Pune.
According to the UoH team, the UPEC causes "serious infections in people at risk and have significant environmental prevalence due to contamination by human and animal excreta". In developing countries, UPEC assumes importance in certain dwellings because of poor community/personal hygiene and exposure to contaminated water or soil.
The strain NA114, according to the researchers, is a multi-drug resistant phenotype and carries the capacity to produce extended spectrum beta-lactamase. This in other words means a superbug strain of E coli that lives in the urinary tract. India, incidentally, has the highest number of UPEC infection cases.
They noted that the genome sequence and comparative genomics emanating from it will be significant in understanding the genetic makeup of diverse UPEC and in boosting development of new diagnostics or vaccines. E coli that live in urinary tract are referred to as extra-intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli. In case of UPEC there's a little data on issues like transmission, virulence spectrum and resistance to drugs.
UPEC is responsible for almost 90 per cent of simple cases of urinary tract infections. In many patients the problem recurs and the emergence of drug resistance in UPEC will make treatment quite difficult. Women are relatively more prone to UPEC infection than men.

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