Dissecting novel virulent determinants in the Burkholderia cepacia complex. Academic Article uri icon


  • Prevention and control of infectious diseases remains a major public health challenge and a number of highly virulent pathogens are emerging both in and beyond the hospital setting. Despite beneficial aspects such as use in biocontrol and bioremediation exhibited by members of the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) some members of this group have recently gained attention as significant bacterial pathogens due to their high levels of intrinsic antibiotic resistance, transmissibility in nosocomial settings, persistence in the presence of antimicrobials and intracellular survival capabilities. The Bcc are opportunistic pathogens and their arsenal of virulence factors includes proteases, lipases and other secreted exoproducts, including secretion system-associated effectors. Deciphering the function of virulence factors and assessment of novel therapeutic strategies has been facilitated by use of diverse non-vertebrate hosts (the fly Drosophila melanogaster, the microscopic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the zebrafish and the greater Galleria mellonella wax moth caterpillar larvae). Researchers are now employing sophisticated approaches to dissect the virulence determinants of Bcc with the ultimate goal being the development of novel anti-infective countermeasures. This editorial will highlight selected recent research endeavors aimed at dissecting adaptive responses and the virulence factor portfolio of Burkholderia species.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012