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Subcell Biochem. 2010;53:241-53. doi: 10.1007/978-90-481-9078-2_11.

The role of Pseudomonas lipopolysaccharide in cystic fibrosis airway infection.

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Simches Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, 185 Cambridge Street, CPZN-3-830, Boston, MA, 02114, USA.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is a ubiquitous environmental Gram-negative bacterium found in soil and water. This opportunistic pathogen can cause infections in individuals with impaired phagocytic function, such as those with burns, exposure to chemotherapy, or cystic fibrosis (CF). PA infects the lungs of most individuals with CF, and is associated with severe progressive pulmonary disease that is the major cause of premature death in this disorder. The specific adaptations of PA to the CF airway responsible for bacterial persistence and antibiotic tolerance are not completely understood but may include increased alginate production (i.e., mucoid phenotype), biofilm formation, and specific lipid A modifications. During adaptation to the CF airway, PA synthesizes a variety of lipid A structures that alter host innate immune responses and promote bacterial persistence and chronic infection. The synthesis of specific lipid A structures is attributable to bacterial enzymes that: (1) remove the 3OH-C10:0 acyl chain from the 3-position (PagL); (2) add a C16:0 acyl chain to the 3OH-C10:0 chain at the 3'-position (PagP); (3) add C12:0 and 2OH-C12:0 acyl chains to the 3OH-C12:0 chains at the 2- and 2'-positions (HtrB and LpxO); and (4) add aminoarabinose to phosphate groups at the 1- and 4'-positions (PmrH, PmrF, PmrI, PmrJ, PmrK, and PmrE). These lipid A modifications represent an essential aspect of PA adaptation to the CF airway.

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