Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that predominantly affects Caucasian populations. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most important Gram‐negative pathogen that persists in CF patients’ lungs. By evading host defence mechanisms and persisting, it is ultimately responsible for the morbidity and mortality of about 80% of CF patients worldwide. P. aeruginosa is also responsible for infections in burns, wounds, eyes, nosocomial patients and HIV patients. Prevalence and progression of infection by P. aeruginosa in the host is dependent on secretion of numerous extracellular molecules such as polysaccharides, proteases, eDNA, pyocyanin and pyoverdine. These molecules have multiple roles in facilitating P. aeruginosa colonisation and virulence. Pyocyanin is one of the major factors dictating progression of infection and biofilm formation. Pyocyanin is a potent virulence factor causing host cell death in CF patients. In this chapter, we have outlined the roles of various extracellular molecules secreted by P. aeruginosa and specifically focused on the role of pyocyanin in inducing eDNA production, binding to eDNA via intercalation and facilitating biofilm promoting factors, whilst inducing oxidative stress to host cells via production of reactive oxygen species. In line with this, we have described the current challenges in treatment of CF infections and the development of new strategies to control P. aeruginosa infections.
Part of the book: Progress in Understanding Cystic Fibrosis