Scientists Have Discovered Why Some People Are Better Protected From Cystitis Than Others

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Scientists Have Discovered Why Some People Are Better Protected From Cystitis Than Others
Scientists Have Discovered Why Some People Are Better Protected From Cystitis Than Others
Video: Scientists Have Discovered Why Some People Are Better Protected From Cystitis Than Others
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Scientists have discovered why some people are better protected from cystitis than others

The study showed for the first time how uromodulin, a protein that is normally present in human urine, works. This discovery will help create new drugs for cystitis.

Scientists have discovered why some people are better protected from cystitis than others
Scientists have discovered why some people are better protected from cystitis than others

Photo: Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

Some people are better protected from cystitis than others, scientists say. They associate an increase in innate resistance to this disease with the fact that the body can produce different amounts of the protein uromodulin. A new study published by Swiss scientists in Science explains some of how the substance works.

Approximately 70% of people have a genetic variant in which the protein uromodulin is synthesized in relatively large quantities. It is known that this is associated with better protection against cystitis, but the mechanism of resistance to this disease, until recently, was almost unknown.

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One of the main causative agents of cystitis is Escherichia coli. Its surface is covered with threadlike structures called pili, which help bacteria to attach to the wall of the bladder. Swiss scientists have figured out how uromodulin attaches to saws. A certain carbohydrate chain of a substance is able to bind tightly to them.

The scientists further discovered that uromodulin molecules can be assembled into long strands that contain about 400 protein molecules (called filaments). In the places of bonds of these molecules, carbohydrate chains are located that can bind bacteria. The researchers were able to see this using cryo-electron tomography, a state-of-the-art technique for three-dimensional imaging of protein structure.

Uromodulin filaments can literally wrap up pathogens.

“It neutralizes pathogens. When a bacterium is bound in this way, it can no longer bind to cells in the urinary tract, that is, it cannot cause infection,”said Gregor Weiss of the Swiss School of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), co-author of the study.

Scientists have found that in real life, the mechanism of work of uromodulin is exactly the same as in laboratory conditions. To confirm this, they examined a number of urine samples from children with cystitis who were being treated at the Children's Hospital in Zurich.

The authors are confident that their discovery will lead to the development of new drugs for the treatment and prevention of cystitis.

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