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Microbiol Rev. 1996 September; 60(3): 539–574.
PMCID: PMC239456

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


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.

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