Engineered live bacteria suppress Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in mouse lung and dissolve endotracheal-tube biofilms

Nat Biotechnol. 2023 Aug;41(8):1089-1098. doi: 10.1038/s41587-022-01584-9. Epub 2023 Jan 19.


Engineered live bacteria could provide a new modality for treating lung infections, a major cause of mortality worldwide. In the present study, we engineered a genome-reduced human lung bacterium, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, to treat ventilator-associated pneumonia, a disease with high hospital mortality when associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. After validating the biosafety of an attenuated M. pneumoniae chassis in mice, we introduced four transgenes into the chromosome by transposition to implement bactericidal and biofilm degradation activities. We show that this engineered strain has high efficacy against an acute P. aeruginosa lung infection in a mouse model. In addition, we demonstrated that the engineered strain could dissolve biofilms formed in endotracheal tubes of patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia and be combined with antibiotics targeting the peptidoglycan layer to increase efficacy against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. We expect our M. pneumoniae-engineered strain to be able to treat biofilm-associated infections in the respiratory tract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biofilms
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Lung
  • Mice
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated* / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated* / microbiology
  • Pseudomonas Infections* / drug therapy
  • Pseudomonas Infections* / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents