The multifarious, multireplicon Burkholderia cepacia complex

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Feb;3(2):144-56. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1085.


The Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) is a collection of genetically distinct but phenotypically similar bacteria that are divided into at least nine species. Bcc bacteria are found throughout the environment, where they can have both beneficial and detrimental effects on plants and some members can also degrade natural and man-made pollutants. Bcc bacteria are now recognized as important opportunistic pathogens that can cause variable lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients, which result in asymptomatic carriage, chronic infection or 'cepacia syndrome', which is characterized by a rapid decline in lung function that can include invasive disease. Here we highlight the unique characteristics of the Bcc, focusing on the factors that determine virulence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Burkholderia Infections / microbiology*
  • Burkholderia Infections / transmission
  • Burkholderia cepacia complex / classification
  • Burkholderia cepacia complex / genetics*
  • Burkholderia cepacia complex / pathogenicity*
  • Burkholderia cepacia complex / physiology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Opportunistic Infections / microbiology
  • Replicon*
  • Virulence / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / genetics*
  • Virulence Factors / physiology


  • Virulence Factors