Identification of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Genes Involved in Virulence and Anaerobic Growth

Infect Immun. 2006 Jul;74(7):4237-45. doi: 10.1128/IAI.02014-05.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative, opportunistic pathogen and a significant cause of acute and chronic infections in patients with compromised host defenses. Evidence suggests that within infections P. aeruginosa encounters oxygen limitation and exists in microbial aggregates known as biofilms. However, there is little information that describes genes involved in anaerobic growth of P. aeruginosa and their association with virulence of this pathogen. To identify genes required for anaerobic growth, random transposon (Tn) mutagenesis was used to screen for mutants that demonstrated the inability to grow anaerobically using nitrate as a terminal electron acceptor. Of approximately 35,000 mutants screened, 57 mutants were found to exhibit no growth anaerobically using nitrate. Identification of the genes disrupted by the Tn revealed 24 distinct loci required for anaerobic growth on nitrate, including several genes not previously associated with anaerobic growth of P. aeruginosa. Several of these mutants were capable of growing anaerobically using nitrite and/or arginine, while five mutants were unable to grow anaerobically under any of the conditions tested. Three mutants were markedly attenuated in virulence in the lettuce model of P. aeruginosa infection. These studies have identified novel genes important for anaerobic growth and demonstrate that anaerobic metabolism influences virulence of P. aeruginosa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Lettuce / microbiology
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas Infections / microbiology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity*
  • Virulence


  • Oxygen