Contribution of Veillonella parvula to Pseudomonas aeruginosa-mediated pathogenicity in a murine tumor model system

Christian Pustelny, Uliana Komor, Vinay Pawar, Anne Lorenz, Agata Bielecka, Annette Moter, Benjamin Gocht, Denitsa Eckweiler, Mathias Müsken, Claudia Grothe, Heinrich Lünsdorf, Siegfried Weiss, Susanne Häussler


The recent finding that high numbers of strict anaerobes are present in the respiratory tract of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients has drawn attention to the pathogenic contribution of the CF microbiome to airway disease. In this study, we investigated the specific interactions of the most dominant bacterial CF pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, with the anaerobic bacterium Veillonella parvula, which has been recovered at comparable cell numbers from the respiratory tract of CF patients. In addition to growth competition experiments, transcriptional profiling, and analyses of biofilm formation by in vitro studies, we used our recently established in vivo murine tumor model to investigate mutual influences of the two pathogens during a biofilm-associated infection process. We found that P. aeruginosa and V. parvula colonized distinct niches within the tumor. Interestingly, significantly higher cell numbers of P. aeruginosa could be recovered from the tumor tissue when mice were coinfected with both bacterial species than when mice were monoinfected with P. aeruginosa. Concordantly, the results of in vivo transcriptional profiling implied that the presence of V. parvula supports P. aeruginosa growth at the site of infection in the host, and the higher P. aeruginosa load correlated with clinical deterioration of the host. Although many challenges must be overcome to dissect the specific interactions of coinfecting bacteria during an infection process, our findings exemplarily demonstrate that the complex interrelations between coinfecting microorganisms and the immune responses determine clinical outcome to a much greater extent than previously anticipated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)417-29
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Bacterial Load
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microbial Interactions
  • Neoplasms/complications
  • Pseudomonas Infections/microbiology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa/pathogenicity
  • Veillonella/pathogenicity


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