+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Bacterial Adaptation during Chronic Respiratory Infections

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Chronic lung infections are associated with increased morbidity and mortality for individuals with underlying respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The process of chronic colonisation allows pathogens to adapt over time to cope with changing selection pressures, co-infecting species and antimicrobial therapies. These adaptations can occur due to environmental pressures in the lung such as inflammatory responses, hypoxia, nutrient deficiency, osmolarity, low pH and antibiotic therapies. Phenotypic adaptations in bacterial pathogens from acute to chronic infection include, but are not limited to, antibiotic resistance, exopolysaccharide production (mucoidy), loss in motility, formation of small colony variants, increased mutation rate, quorum sensing and altered production of virulence factors associated with chronic infection. The evolution of Pseudomonas aeruginosa during chronic lung infection has been widely studied. More recently, the adaptations that other chronically colonising respiratory pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus, Burkholderia cepacia complex and Haemophilus influenzae undergo during chronic infection have also been investigated. This review aims to examine the adaptations utilised by different bacterial pathogens to aid in their evolution from acute to chronic pathogens of the immunocompromised lung including CF and COPD.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 103

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Microbial pathogenesis in cystic fibrosis: mucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia.

           J. Govan,  V Deretic (1996)
          Respiratory infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia play a major role in the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis (CF). This review summarizes the latest advances in understanding host-pathogen interactions in CF with an emphasis on the role and control of conversion to mucoidy in P. aeruginosa, a phenomenon epitomizing the adaptation of this opportunistic pathogen to the chronic chourse of infection in CF, and on the innate resistance to antibiotics of B. cepacia, person-to-person spread, and sometimes rapidly fatal disease caused by this organism. While understanding the mechanism of conversion to mucoidy in P. aeruginosa has progressed to the point where this phenomenon has evolved into a model system for studying bacterial stress response in microbial pathogenesis, the more recent challenge with B. cepacia, which has emerged as a potent bona fide CF pathogen, is discussed in the context of clinical issues, taxonomy, transmission, and potential modes of pathogenicity.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to the cystic fibrosis airway: an evolutionary perspective.

            The airways of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) are nearly always infected with many different microorganisms. This environment offers warm, humid and nutrient-rich conditions, but is also stressful owing to frequent antibiotic therapy and the host immune response. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is commonly isolated from the airways of patients with CF, where it most often establishes chronic infections that usually persist for the rest of the lives of the patients. This bacterium is a major cause of mortality and morbidity and has therefore been studied intensely. Here, we discuss how P. aeruginosa evolves from a state of early, recurrent intermittent colonization of the airways of patients with CF to a chronic infection state, and how this process offers opportunities to study bacterial evolution in natural environments. We believe that such studies are valuable not only for our understanding of bacterial evolution but also for the future development of new therapeutic strategies to treat severe chronic infections.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Evolutionary dynamics of bacteria in a human host environment.

              Laboratory evolution experiments have led to important findings relating organism adaptation and genomic evolution. However, continuous monitoring of long-term evolution has been lacking for natural systems, limiting our understanding of these processes in situ. Here we characterize the evolutionary dynamics of a lineage of a clinically important opportunistic bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as it adapts to the airways of several individual cystic fibrosis patients over 200,000 bacterial generations, and provide estimates of mutation rates of bacteria in a natural environment. In contrast to predictions based on in vitro evolution experiments, we document limited diversification of the evolving lineage despite a highly structured and complex host environment. Notably, the lineage went through an initial period of rapid adaptation caused by a small number of mutations with pleiotropic effects, followed by a period of genetic drift with limited phenotypic change and a genomic signature of negative selection, suggesting that the evolving lineage has reached a major adaptive peak in the fitness landscape. This contrasts with previous findings of continued positive selection from long-term in vitro evolution experiments. The evolved phenotype of the infecting bacteria further suggests that the opportunistic pathogen has transitioned to become a primary pathogen for cystic fibrosis patients.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                02 March 2015
                March 2015
                : 4
                : 1
                : 66-89
                Centre of Microbial Host Interactions, Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland; E-Mail: Louise.cullen@
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: Siobhan.mcclean@ ; Tel.: +353-1-4042794.
                © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (



                Comment on this article