Pseudomonas aeruginosa: breaking down barriers

Bryan J. Berube, Stephanie M. Rangel, Alan R. Hauser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Many bacterial pathogens have evolved ingenious ways to escape from the lung during pneumonia to cause bacteremia. Unfortunately, the clinical consequences of this spread to the bloodstream are frequently dire. It is therefore important to understand the molecular mechanisms used by pathogens to breach the lung barrier. We have recently shown that Pseudomonas aeruginosa, one of the leading causes of hospital-acquired pneumonia, utilizes the type III secretion system effector ExoS to intoxicate pulmonary epithelial cells. Injection of these cells leads to localized disruption of the pulmonary-vascular barrier and dissemination of P. aeruginosa to the bloodstream. We put these data in the context of previous studies to provide a holistic model of P. aeruginosa dissemination from the lung. Finally, we compare P. aeruginosa dissemination to that of other bacteria to highlight the complexity of bacterial pneumonia. Although respiratory pathogens use distinct and intricate strategies to escape from the lungs, a thorough understanding of these processes can lay the foundation for new therapeutic approaches for bacterial pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-113
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Bacterial dissemination
  • ExoS
  • Pneumonia
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Type III secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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