An Organ System-Based Synopsis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Virulence

Charles D. Morin, Eric Déziel, Jeff Gauthier, Roger C. Levesque, Gee W. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Driven in part by its metabolic versatility, high intrinsic antibiotic resistance, and a large repertoire of virulence factors, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is expertly adapted to thrive in a wide variety of environments, and in the process, making it a notorious opportunistic pathogen. Apart from the extensively studied chronic infection in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis (CF), P. aeruginosa also causes multiple serious infections encompassing essentially all organs of the human body, among others, lung infection in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, primary ciliary dyskinesia and ventilator-associated pneumonia; bacteremia and sepsis; soft tissue infection in burns, open wounds and postsurgery patients; urinary tract infection; diabetic foot ulcers; chronic suppurative otitis media and otitis externa; and keratitis associated with extended contact lens use. Although well characterized in the context of CF, pathogenic processes mediated by various P. aeruginosa virulence factors in other organ systems remain poorly understood. In this review, we use an organ system-based approach to provide a synopsis of disease mechanisms exerted by P. aeruginosa virulence determinants that contribute to its success as a versatile pathogen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1507
Number of pages39
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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