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Identification of specific and universal virulence factors in Burkholderia cenocepacia strains by using multiple infection hosts.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2009
Author Uehlinger Susanne, Schwager Stephan, Bernier Steve P, Riedel Kathrin, Nguyen David T, Sokol Pamela A, Eberl Leo,
Project Analysis of the quorum sensing circuitry of Burkholderia cenocepacia H111
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Infection and immunity
Volume (Issue) 77(9)
Page(s) 4102 - 10
Title of proceedings Infection and immunity
DOI 10.1128/IAI.00398-09


Over the past few decades, strains of the Burkholderia cepacia complex have emerged as important pathogens for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. Identification of virulence factors and assessment of the pathogenic potential of Burkholderia strains have increased the need for appropriate infection models. In previous studies, different infection hosts, including mammals, nematodes, insects, and plants, have been used. At present, however, the extent to which the virulence factors required to infect different hosts overlap is not known. The aim of this study was to analyze the roles of various virulence factors of two closely related Burkholderia cenocepacia strains, H111 and the epidemic strain K56-2, in a multihost pathogenesis system using four different model organisms, namely, Caenorhabditis elegans, Galleria mellonella, the alfalfa plant, and mice or rats. We demonstrate that most of the identified virulence factors are specific for one of the infection models, and only three factors were found to be essential for full pathogenicity in several hosts: mutants defective in (i) quorum sensing, (ii) siderophore production, and (iii) lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis were attenuated in at least three of the infection models and thus may represent promising targets for the development of novel anti-infectives.