Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas maltophilia account for 80% of opportunistic infections by pseudomonads. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes urinary tract infections, respiratory system infections, dermatitis, soft tissue infections, bacteremia, and a variety of systemic infections, particularly in patients with severe burns, and in cancer and AIDS patients who are immunosuppressed. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is notable for its resistance to antibiotics, and is therefore a particularly dangerous pathogen. Only a few antibiotics are effective against Pseudomonas, including fluoroquinolones, gentamicin, and imipenem, and even these antibiotics are not effective against all strains. The difficulty treating Pseudomonas infections with antibiotics is most dramatically illustrated in cystic fibrosis patients, virtually all of whom eventually become infected with a strain that is so resistant that it cannot be treated. Since antibiotic therapy has proved so ineffective as a treatment, we embarked on a research program to investigate the development of a synthetic peptide consensus sequence vaccine for this pathogen. In this review article we will describe our work over the last 15 years to develop a synthetic peptide consensus sequence anti-adhesin vaccine and a related therapeutic monoclonal antibody (cross-reactive to multiple strains) to be used in the prevention and treatment of P. aeruginosa infections. Further, we describe the identification and isolation of a small peptide structural element found in P. aeruginosa strain K (PAK) bacterial pili, which has been proven to function as a host epithelial cell-surface receptor binding domain. Heterologous peptides are found in the pili of all strains of P. aeruginosa that have been sequenced to date. Several of these peptide sequences have been used in the development of an consensus sequence anti-adhesin vaccine targeted at the prevention of host cell attachment and further for the generation of a monoclonal antibody capable of prevention and treatment of existing infections.
Copyright 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.