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1.  Loss of Bacterial Diversity during Antibiotic Treatment of Intubated Patients Colonized with Pseudomonas aeruginosa▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(6):1954-1962.
Management of airway infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a serious clinical challenge, but little is known about the microbial ecology of airway infections in intubated patients. We analyzed bacterial diversity in endotracheal aspirates obtained from intubated patients colonized by P. aeruginosa by using 16S rRNA clone libraries and microarrays (PhyloChip) to determine changes in bacterial community compositions during antibiotic treatment. Bacterial 16S rRNA genes were absent from aspirates obtained from patients briefly intubated for elective surgery but were detected by PCR in samples from all patients intubated for longer periods. Sequencing of 16S rRNA clone libraries demonstrated the presence of many orally, nasally, and gastrointestinally associated bacteria, including known pathogens, in the lungs of patients colonized with P. aeruginosa. PhyloChip analysis detected the same organisms and many additional bacterial groups present at low abundance that were not detected in clone libraries. For each patient, both culture-independent methods showed that bacterial diversity decreased following the administration of antibiotics, and communities became dominated by a pulmonary pathogen. P. aeruginosa became the dominant species in six of seven patients studied, despite treatment of five of these six with antibiotics to which it was sensitive in vitro. Our data demonstrate that the loss of bacterial diversity under antibiotic selection is highly associated with the development of pneumonia in ventilated patients colonized with P. aeruginosa. Interestingly, PhyloChip analysis demonstrated reciprocal changes in abundance between P. aeruginosa and the class Bacilli, suggesting that these groups may compete for a similar ecological niche and suggesting possible mechanisms through which the loss of microbial diversity may directly contribute to pathogen selection and persistence.
PMCID: PMC1933106  PMID: 17409203
2.  Presence or Absence of Lipopolysaccharide O Antigens Affects Type III Secretion by Pseudomonas aeruginosa▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(6):2203-2209.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the major causative agents of mortality and morbidity in hospitalized patients due to a multiplicity of virulence factors associated with both chronic and acute infections. Acute P. aeruginosa infection is primarily mediated by planktonic bacteria expressing the type III secretion system (TTSS), a surface-attached needle-like complex that injects cytotoxins directly into eukaryotic cells, causing cellular damage. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the principal surface-associated virulence factor of P. aeruginosa. This molecule is known to undergo structural modification (primarily alterations in the A- and B-band O antigen) in response to changes in the mode of life (e.g., from biofilm to planktonic). Given that LPS exhibits structural plasticity, we hypothesized that the presence of LPS lacking O antigen would facilitate eukaryotic intoxication and that a correlation between the LPS O-antigen serotype and TTSS-mediated cytotoxicity would exist. Therefore, strain PAO1 (A+ B+ O-antigen serotype) and isogenic mutants with specific O-antigen defects (A+ B−, A− B+, and A− B−) were examined for TTSS expression and cytotoxicity. A strong association existed in vitro between the absence of the large, structured B-band O antigen and increased cytotoxicity of these strains. In vivo, all three LPS mutant strains demonstrated significantly increased lung injury compared to PAO1. Clinical strains lacking the B-band O antigen also demonstrated increased TTSS secretion. These results suggest the existence of a cooperative association between LPS O-antigen structure and the TTSS in both laboratory and clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa.
PMCID: PMC1899375  PMID: 17209027

Results 1-3 (3)