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Infect Immun. Mar 1996; 64(3): 782–790.
PMCID: PMC173838

Intracellular survival of Burkholderia pseudomallei.


Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, a disease being increasingly recognized as an important cause of morbidity and mortality in many regions of the world. Several features of melioidosis suggest that B. pseudomallei is a facultative intracellular pathogen. This study was designed to assess the ability of B. pseudomallei to invade and survive in eukaryotic cells. We have shown that B. pseudomallei has the capacity to invade cultured cell lines, including HeLa, CHO, A549, and Vero cells. We have demonstrated intracellular survival of B. pseudomallei in professional phagocytic cells, including rat alveolar macrophages. B pseudomallei was localized inside vacuoles in human monocyte-like U937 cells, a histiocytic lymphoma cell line with phagocytic properties. Additionally, electron microscopic visualization of B. pseudomallei-infected HeLa cells and polymorphonuclear leukocytes confirmed the presence of intracellular bacteria within membrane-bound vacuoles. B. pseudomallei was found to be resistant to the cationic peptide protamine and to purified human defensin HNP-1.

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Selected References

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