Role of Bacterial Proteases in Pseudomonal and Serratial Keratitis

Biol Chem. 2004 Nov;385(11):1007-16. doi: 10.1515/BC.2004.131.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens can cause refractory keratitis resulting in corneal perforation and blindness. These bacteria produce various kinds of proteases. In addition to pseudomonal elastase (LasB) and alkaline protease, LasA protease and protease IV have recently been found to be more important virulence factors of P. aeruginosa . S. marcescens produces a cysteine protease in addition to metalloproteases. These bacterial proteases have a number of biological activities, such as degradation of tissue constituents and host defense-oriented proteins, as well as activation of zymogens (Hageman factor, prekallikrein and pro-matrix metalloproteinases) through limited proteolysis. In this article, the properties of these bacterial proteases are reviewed and the pathogenic roles of these proteases in pseudomonal keratitis are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Keratitis / enzymology*
  • Keratitis / microbiology
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification*
  • Serratia marcescens / isolation & purification*


  • Peptide Hydrolases