Pseudomonas aeruginosa anaerobic respiration in biofilms: relationships to cystic fibrosis pathogenesis

Dev Cell. 2002 Oct;3(4):593-603. doi: 10.1016/s1534-5807(02)00295-2.


Recent data indicate that cystic fibrosis (CF) airway mucus is anaerobic. This suggests that Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in CF reflects biofilm formation and persistence in an anaerobic environment. P. aeruginosa formed robust anaerobic biofilms, the viability of which requires rhl quorum sensing and nitric oxide (NO) reductase to modulate or prevent accumulation of toxic NO, a byproduct of anaerobic respiration. Proteomic analyses identified an outer membrane protein, OprF, that was upregulated approximately 40-fold under anaerobic versus aerobic conditions. Further, OprF exists in CF mucus, and CF patients raise antisera to OprF. An oprF mutant formed poor anaerobic biofilms, due, in part, to defects in anaerobic respiration. Thus, future investigations of CF pathogenesis and therapy should include a better understanding of anaerobic metabolism and biofilm development by P. aeruginosa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / etiology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*