Genetic factors underlying the survival of Legionella in water

One of the best-studied water-borne bacterial pathogens, in term of its interaction with phagocytic protozoans, is Legionella pneumophila. This species is an important, but often underestimated, cause of community-acquired and nosocomial pneumonia. Transmission occurs primarily by inhalation of contaminated water droplets, but the exact mechanism and other factors influencing virulence remain unclear. Once in the lungs, Legionella infects and replicates inside alveolar macrophages and causes widespread tissue damage. Legionella is also able to replicate within a wide variety of phagocytic protozoans, and can survive for up to a year in the water environment in the absence of any nutrients or susceptible phagocytic protozoans. We have identified a few genes potentially involved in the long-term survival in water by using microarray analysis. The goal of this project is to generate mutant strains for those genes and test the ability of the mutant strains to survive in water.

Faculty Supervisor:

Sebastien Faucher


Diego Rodriguez Mendez



Resources and environmental management



McGill University



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