A Dynamic and Intricate Regulatory Network Determines Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Virulence

Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Jan 7;41(1):1-20. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks1039. Epub 2012 Nov 11.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a metabolically versatile bacterium that is found in a wide range of biotic and abiotic habitats. It is a major human opportunistic pathogen causing numerous acute and chronic infections. The critical traits contributing to the pathogenic potential of P. aeruginosa are the production of a myriad of virulence factors, formation of biofilms and antibiotic resistance. Expression of these traits is under stringent regulation, and it responds to largely unidentified environmental signals. This review is focused on providing a global picture of virulence gene regulation in P. aeruginosa. In addition to key regulatory pathways that control the transition from acute to chronic infection phenotypes, some regulators have been identified that modulate multiple virulence mechanisms. Despite of a propensity for chaotic behaviour, no chaotic motifs were readily observed in the P. aeruginosa virulence regulatory network. Having a 'birds-eye' view of the regulatory cascades provides the forum opportunities to pose questions, formulate hypotheses and evaluate theories in elucidating P. aeruginosa pathogenesis. Understanding the mechanisms involved in making P. aeruginosa a successful pathogen is essential in helping devise control strategies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alginates
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Glucuronic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virulence / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism


  • Alginates
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • RNA, Small Untranslated
  • Virulence Factors
  • Glucuronic Acid
  • Iron