Urinary tract infections are caused primarily by uropathogenic strains of
Escherichia coli (UPEC). UPEC is known to transition through a series of
distinct infection stages, displaying reversible morphological differentiation
along the way. Initial steps involve bladder invasion by rod-shaped bacteria to
establish intracellular bacterial communities consisting of coccoid cells.
Subsequently, during exit from infected cells, UPEC regain their rod-shape and
in some cases even form large filaments. Using a flow-chamber based tissue
culture infection model we have studied UPEC gene expression during the
course of infection. Our results reveal a novel SOS-independent mechanism of
reversible cell-division control.