Pseudomonas aeruginosa adaptation in the nasopharyngeal reservoir leads to migration and persistence in the lungs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Joanne L Fothergill
  • Daniel R Neill
  • Nicholas Loman
  • Craig Winstanley
  • Aras Kadioglu

Colleges, School and Institutes


Chronic bacterial infections are a key feature of a variety of lung conditions. The opportunistic bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is extremely skilled at both colonizing and persisting in the airways of patients with lung damage. It has been suggested that the upper airways (including the paranasal sinuses and nasopharynx) play an important role as a silent reservoir of bacteria. Over time, P. aeruginosa can adapt to its niche, leading to increased resistance in the face of the immune system and intense therapy regimes. Here we describe a mouse inhalation model of P. aeruginosa chronic infection that can be studied for at least 28 days. We present evidence for adaptation in vivo, in terms of genotype and phenotype including antibiotic resistance. Our data suggest that there is persistence in the upper respiratory tract and that this is key in the establishment of lung infection. This model provides a unique platform for studying evolutionary dynamics and therapeutics.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4780
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2014