Cranberry impairs selected behaviors essential for virulence in Proteus mirabilis HI4320
Proteus mirabilis is an etiological agent of complicated urinary tract infections. North American cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) have long been considered to have protective properties against urinary tract infections. This work reports the effects of cranberry powder (CP) on the motility of P. mirabilis HI4320 and its expression of flaA, flhD, and ureD. Our results show that swimming and swarming motilities and swarmer-cell differentiation were inhibited by CP. Additionally, transcription of the flagellin gene flaA and of flhD, the first gene of the flagellar master operon flhDC, decreased during exposure of P. mirabilis to various concentrations of CP. Moreover, using ureD-gfp, a fusion of the urease accessory gene ureD with gfp, we show that CP inhibits urease expression. Because we demonstrate that CP does not inhibit the growth of P. mirabilis, the observed effects are not attributable to toxicity. Taken together, our results demonstrate that CP hinders motility of P. mirabilis and reduces the expression of important virulence factors.