Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Strains With Lipopolysaccharide Defects Exhibit Reduced Intracellular Viability After Invasion of Corneal Epithelial Cells

Exp Eye Res. 2002 Dec;75(6):635-43. doi: 10.1006/exer.2002.2072.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of infectious keratitis. Many ocular isolates of this bacterium invade corneal epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. Antibiotic survival assays have shown that a complete core lipopolysaccharide is required for full epithelial invasion by P. aeruginosa. In this study, we show that P. aeruginosa mutants with defects in their lipopolysaccharide core and O antigen exhibited reduced viability after internalization by corneal epithelial cells. Restoration of lipopolysaccharide core and O antigen expression by complementation with the plasmid pLPS1 restored intracellular survival. P. aeruginosa strains with a complete lipopolysaccharide survived and replicated within the cells. The data suggest that lipopolysaccharide is involved in the intracellular survival and/or replication of P. aeruginosa, indicating an additional mechanism by which this important virulence factor may contribute to the pathogenesis of corneal infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Epithelium, Corneal / microbiology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity*
  • Rabbits
  • Virulence
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / physiology*


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Virulence Factors