Modulation of lung epithelial functions by Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Gee W. Lau, Daniel J. Hassett, Bradley E. Britigan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Microorganisms gain access to the airways and respiratory epithelial surface during normal breathing. Most inhaled microbes are trapped on the mucous layer coating the nasal epithelium and upper respiratory tract, and are cleared by ciliary motion. Microorganisms reaching the alveolar spaces are deposited on the pulmonary epithelium. This contact initiates complex offensive and defensive strategies by both parties. Here, we briefly outline how the pulmonary pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses multi-pronged strategies that include cell surface appendages, and secreted and injected virulence determinants to switch from an unobtrusive soil bacterium to a pathogen for lung epithelium colonization. Understanding the complex interactions between the lung epithelium and P. aeruginosa might enable more effective therapeutic strategies against infection in cystic fibrosis and immuno-compromized individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-397
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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