Urinary tract infections: microbial pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions and new treatment strategies

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2020 Apr;18(4):211-226. doi: 10.1038/s41579-020-0324-0. Epub 2020 Feb 18.


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common, recurrent infections that can be mild to life-threatening. The continued emergence of antibiotic resistance, together with our increasing understanding of the detrimental effects conferred by broad-spectrum antibiotic use on the health of the beneficial microbiota of the host, has underscored the weaknesses in our current treatment paradigm for UTIs. In this Review, we discuss how recent microbiological, structural, genetic and immunological studies have expanded our understanding of host-pathogen interactions during UTI pathogenesis. These basic scientific findings have the potential to shift the strategy for UTI treatment away from broad-spectrum antibiotics targeting conserved aspects of bacterial replication towards pathogen-specific antibiotic-sparing therapeutics that target core determinants of bacterial virulence at the host-pathogen interface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Urinary Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents