The role of urease in induction of pyelonephritis was studied by treatment of proteus-infected rats with acetohydroxamic acid, a potent inhibitor of urease. Infection was produced by introduction of Proteus mirabilis into the bladder along with a zinc disk. Controls were treated identically but received no acetohydroxamic acid. The number of bacteria per milliliter of urine was the same in both groups. The number of bacteria in the kidneys and the extent of renal damage was much greater in controls. Common enterobacteraceal antigen was not detected in the renal parenchyma of rats treated with acetohydroxamic acid. Treatment with acetohydroxamic acid thus prevented invasion of and damage to kidney tissue without reduction of urinary infection. Thus new evidence was found that the invasive properties of Proteus in the urinary tract are dependent on alkalinization of urine by urease and the resulting damage to the renal epithelium.