Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 31–40 | Cite as

Pathogenicity, virulence factors, and strategies to fight against Burkholderia cepacia complex pathogens and related species

  • Jorge H. Leitão
  • Sílvia A. Sousa
  • Ana S. Ferreira
  • Christian G. Ramos
  • Inês N. Silva
  • Leonilde M. Moreira


The Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) is a group of 17 closely related species of the β-proteobacteria subdivision that emerged in the 1980s as important human pathogens, especially to patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. Since then, a remarkable progress has been achieved on the taxonomy and molecular identification of these bacteria. Although some progress have been achieved on the knowledge of the pathogenesis traits and virulence factors used by these bacteria, further work envisaging the identification of potential targets for the scientifically based design of new therapeutic strategies is urgently needed, due to the very difficult eradication of these bacteria with available therapies. An overview of these aspects of Bcc pathogenesis and opportunities for the design of future therapies is presented and discussed in this work.


Burkholderia cepacia complex Pathogenicity Virulence factors Antimicrobials 



This work was funded by FEDER and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal, through contracts PTDC/BIA-MIC/66977/2006 and PTDC/EBB-BIO/098352/2008, a post-doctoral grant to SAS and PhD grants to ASF and INS. A doctoral grant from Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (FCG) to CGR is also acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge H. Leitão
    • 1
  • Sílvia A. Sousa
    • 1
  • Ana S. Ferreira
    • 1
  • Christian G. Ramos
    • 1
  • Inês N. Silva
    • 1
  • Leonilde M. Moreira
    • 1
  1. 1.IBB—Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre for Biological and Chemical Engineering, Instituto Superior TécnicoLisbonPortugal

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