Pseudomonas aeruginosa Diversification during Infection Development in Cystic Fibrosis Lungs-A Review

Pathogens. 2014 Aug 18;3(3):680-703. doi: 10.3390/pathogens3030680.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most prevalent pathogen of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. Its long persistence in CF airways is associated with sophisticated mechanisms of adaptation, including biofilm formation, resistance to antibiotics, hypermutability and customized pathogenicity in which virulence factors are expressed according the infection stage. CF adaptation is triggered by high selective pressure of inflamed CF lungs and by antibiotic treatments. Bacteria undergo genetic, phenotypic, and physiological variations that are fastened by the repeating interplay of mutation and selection. During CF infection development, P. aeruginosa gradually shifts from an acute virulent pathogen of early infection to a host-adapted pathogen of chronic infection. This paper reviews the most common changes undergone by P. aeruginosa at each stage of infection development in CF lungs. The comprehensive understanding of the adaptation process of P. aeruginosa may help to design more effective antimicrobial treatments and to identify new targets for future drugs to prevent the progression of infection to chronic stages.

Publication types

  • Review