Burkholderia cenocepacia Database

Burkholderia cenocepacia PC184

Project Information

We are sequencing 2 strains each of P. aeruginosa and Burkholderia to better understand Cystic Fibrosis pathogenesis. Little is known about the conditions under which normally non-pathogenic bacteria become 'opportunistic' pathogens in CF lungs. Analysis of genomes from particularly successful or virulent CF lung isolates of P. aeruginosa and Burkholderia will shed light on bacterial and host physiology and immune evasion -- aspects of the host-pathogen interface key to clinical outcomes.

This project is being led by: Dr. Stephen Lory, Harvard Medical School, USA

Why are we sequencing bacterial genomes isolated from Cystic Fibrosis patient lungs?

The normally sterile human respiratory tract serves as a site of infection for a number of bacterial pathogens, including potential agents of bioterrorism. Respiratory infections contribute to some of the most serious life-threatening infections worldwide and many are re-emerging in the US and Western Europe, particularly in patients whose immune defenses are compromised. The emergence of opportunistic infections correlates with the increase in the number of immunosuppressive procedures for cancer, as part of organ transplantations and most importantly, due to a dramatic increase in mean survival of patients with impaired host defenses, including those with neutropenia and cystic fibrosis (CF). Prolonged hospitalization, particularly during ventilator-assisted procedures, also predisposes such individuals to various opportunistic bacterial infections. Among the pathogens infecting these patients, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is most important, not only from the prospective of prevalence but also due to an alarming rise in its overall antibiotic resistance over the past decade. The emergence of this organism as an important human pathogen corresponds to an increase in the predisposing opportunities in the population as more patients undergo hospitalization for natural malignancies or procedures that require concurrent immunosuppressive procedures. Moreover, there has been a dramatic increase in the mean survival age of individuals with CF, which creates an increasing population of patients who become infected and eventually succumb to consequences of colonization by P. aeruginosa and other opportunistic pathogens. The problem of management of CF infections has been seriously compromised recently with the emergence of certain highly transmissible clonal variants of P. aeruginosa. Moreover, the outbreak of deadly infections among CF patients in Boston with a highly contagious Burkholderia dolosa further highlights the vulnerability of a patient population with impaired defenses by new strains or species of bacterial pathogens.

Strain Information

The specific strains used in this project are as follows:

ID Genus/species Description Source
AU0158 B. dolosa Epidemic strain from Boston Children's Hospital. Isolated from the same patient as strain BCH12. John LiPuma, Dept of Pediatrics, University of Michigan.
PC184 B. cenocepacia A lineage of B. cenocepacia different from the sequenced strain. John LiPuma, Dept of Pediatrics, University of Michigan.
C3719 P. aeruginosa Epidemic strain from Manchester, England. Eshwar Mahenthiralingam, Dept. of Microbiology, Cardiff School of Biosciences.
2192 P. aeruginosa Mucoid isolate from a CF patient treated at Boston Children's Hospital Gerald Pier, Channing Laboratory, Boston MA