Chronic lung infection by mucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the major pathologic features in patients with cystic fibrosis. Mucoid P. aeruginosa is notorious for its biofilm forming capability and resistance to immune attacks. In this study, the roles of extracellular polymeric substances from biofilms formed by mucoid P. aeruginosa were investigated. Alginate is not an essential structure component for mucoid P. aeruginosa biofilms. Genetic studies revealed that Pel and Psl polysaccharides serve as essential scaffold and mediate macrocolony formation in mucoid P. aeruginosa biofilms. The Psl polysaccharide is more important than Pel polysaccharide in mucoid P. aeruginosa biofilm structure maintenance and phagocytosis resistance. The polysaccharides were further found to protect mucoid P. aeruginosa strain from host immune clearance in a mouse model of acute lung infection.
© 2012 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.