The art of persistence-the secrets to Burkholderia chronic infections

Eric Lewis, Alfredo G. Torres

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The Gram-negative proteobacteria genus Burkholderia encompasses multiple bacterial species that are pathogenic to humans and other vertebrates. Two pathogenic species of interest within this genus are Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bpm) and the B. cepacia complex (Bcc); the former is the causative agent of melioidosis in humans and other mammals, and the latter is associated with pneumonia in immunocompromised patients. One understudied and shared characteristic of these two pathogenic groups is their ability to persist and establish chronic infection within the host. In this review, we will explore the depth of knowledge about chronic infections caused by persistent Bpm and Bcc. We examine the host risk factors and immune responses associated with more severe chronic infections. We also discuss host adaptation and phenotypes associated with persistent Burkholderia species. Lastly, we survey how other intracellular bacteria associated with chronic infections are combatted and explore possible future applications to target Burkholderia. Our goal is to highlight understudied areas that should be addressed for a more thorough understanding of chronic Burkholderia infections and how to combat them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberftw070
JournalPathogens and disease
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • B. pseudomallei
  • Burkholderia
  • Burkholderia cepacia complex
  • Chronic infection
  • Melioidosis
  • Persistent bacteria
  • Pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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