Interspecies communication between Burkholderia cepacia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Can J Microbiol. 2002 Aug;48(8):707-16. doi: 10.1139/w02-068.


Burkholderia cepacia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are opportunistic pathogens that commonly cause pulmonary infections in cystic fibrosis patients and occasionally co-infect patients' lungs. Both organisms possess quorum-sensing systems dependent on N-acyl homoserine lactone (N-acyl-HSL). Cross-feeding assays demonstrated that P. aeruginosa and B. cepacia were able to utilize heterologous N-acyl-HSL signaling molecules. The ability of quorum-sensing genes from one species to complement the respective quorum-sensing mutations in the heterologous species was also examined. These studies suggest that B. cepacia CepR can use N-acyl-HSLs synthesized by RhlI and LasI and that P. aeruginosa LasR and RhlR can use N-acyl-HSLs synthesized by CepI. It is possible that a mixed bacterial population of B. cepacia and P. aeruginosa can coordinately regulate some of their virulence factors and influence the progression of lung disease due to infection with these organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 4-Butyrolactone / analogs & derivatives*
  • 4-Butyrolactone / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Burkholderia Infections / genetics
  • Burkholderia Infections / microbiology
  • Burkholderia Infections / pathology
  • Burkholderia cepacia / genetics
  • Burkholderia cepacia / metabolism
  • Burkholderia cepacia / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Lac Operon
  • Ligases*
  • Mutation
  • Pseudomonas Infections / genetics
  • Pseudomonas Infections / microbiology
  • Pseudomonas Infections / pathology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • LuxI protein, Bacteria
  • Transcription Factors
  • Virulence Factors
  • homoserine lactone
  • Ligases
  • N-acylhomoserine lactone synthase
  • 4-Butyrolactone