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Bagli Lab

Epigenetics of urinary tract infection (UTI)

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DNA methylation is one way that cells can undergo epigenetic alterations, or changes to the gene expression that don't involve the usual mechanisms and don't involve mutations. Methylation of CpG islands in the promotor of genes can stop or reduce the expression of the genes. 

We are examining how low level infections or chronic infections lead to altered gene expression which is associated with DNA methylation. We have found that gene expression is altered in cells that are chronically infected by uropathogenic E. coli, and is also associated with an increase in DNMT1 expression and activity. These novel findings support the concept that chronic infections can alter the host epigenome and may lead to altered host responses to infection.