The structure-function relationship of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in infections and its influence on the microenvironment

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a human pathogen associated with both acute and chronic infections. While intensively studied, the basic mechanisms enabling the long-term survival of P. aeruginosa in the host, despite massive immune system attack and heavy antimicrobial treatment, remain to be identified. We argue that such infections may represent niche invasions by P. aeruginosa that influence the microenvironment by depleting host-derived substrate and activating the immune response. Bacteria embedded in cell aggregates establish a microenvironmental niche, where they endure the initial host response by slowing down their metabolism. This provides stable, lasting growth conditions with a constant, albeit slow supply of substrate and electron acceptors. Under such stable conditions, P. aeruginosa exhibits distinct adaptive traits, where its gene expression pattern reflects a life exposed to continuous attack by the host immune system and antimicrobials. Here, we review fundamental microenvironmental aspects of chronic P. aeruginosa infections and examine how their structural organization influences their in vivo microenvironment, which in turn affects the interaction of P. aeruginosa biofilm aggregates with the host immune system. We discuss how improving our knowledge about the microenvironmental ecology of P. aeruginosa in chronic infections can be used to combat persistent, hard-to-treat bacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfuac018
JournalFEMS Microbiology Reviews
Volume46
Issue number5
Number of pages13
ISSN0168-6445
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of FEMS.

    Research areas

  • biofilm, chronic infections, host–pathogen interactions, immune response, microenvironment, quorum sensing

ID: 320397587