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LÓPEZ, Veronica

CONICET PhD fellow
Director: Alejandro Moyano

PhD Thesis Topic

Adaptation mechanisms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to the intracellular milieu of eukaryotic cells.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen, and it is the etiological agent in a great diversity of infections, both acute and chronic. Most importantly, P. aeruginosa constitutes the main cause of chronic respiratory infections in patients with the genetic-hereditary disease cystic fibrosis (CF), in which these infections are the main cause of morbidity and mortality.
Several factors, among which the growth mode in biofilms and their ability to mutate allowing the emergence of diverse adaptive phenotypes, are considered key determinants of the increased tolerance and resistance of P. aeruginosa that prevent its eradication. Another mechanism through which certain pathogens are able to evade the immune response, as well as exposure to certain antibiotics, is the ability to live and thrive in the intracellular environment of the eukaryotic cell.
The present project aims to establish those molecular mechanisms that would favor both the invasion and the survival of different strains of P. aeruginosa in the intracellular milieu of eukaryotic cells and, their possible implication in the persistence of chronic lung infections in CF patients. A second stage of the project aims to investigate the potential differences in the intracellular traffic of those strains of P. aeruginosa that show different degrees of adaptation / survival in the intracellular environment.