Pseudomonas aeruginosa populations undergo a characteristic evolutionary adaptation during chronic infection of the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung, including reduced production of virulence factors, transition to a biofilm-associated lifestyle, and evolution of high-level antibiotic resistance. Populations of P. aeruginosa in chronic CF lung infections typically exhibit high phenotypic diversity, including for clinically important traits such as antibiotic resistance and toxin production, and this diversity is dynamic over time, making accurate diagnosis and treatment challenging. Population genomics studies reveal extensive genetic diversity within patients, including for transmissible strains the coexistence of highly divergent lineages acquired by patient-to-patient transmission. The inherent spatial structure and spatial heterogeneity of selection in the CF lung appears to play a key role in driving P. aeruginosa diversification.
Keywords: Pseudomonas aeruginosa; adaptation; cystic fibrosis; evolution; population biology.
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