Acinetobacter baumannii: An ancient commensal with weapons of a pathogen

Meysam Sarshar, Payam Behzadi, Daniela Scribano, Anna Teresa Palamara, Cecilia Ambrosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acinetobacter baumannii is regarded as a life-threatening pathogen associatedwith communityacquired and nosocomial infections, mainly pneumonia. The rise in the number of A. baumannii antibiotic-resistant strains reduces effective therapies and increases mortality. Bacterial comparative genomic studies have unraveled the innate and acquired virulence factors of A. baumannii. These virulence factors are involved in antibiotic resistance, environmental persistence, host-pathogen interactions, and immune evasion. Studies on host-pathogen interactions revealed that A. baumannii evolved different mechanisms to adhere to in order to invade host respiratory cells as well as evade the host immune system. In this review, we discuss current data on A. baumannii genetic features and virulence factors. An emphasis is given to the players in host-pathogen interaction in the respiratory tract. In addition, we report recent investigations into host defense systems using in vitro and in vivo models, providing new insights into the innate immune response to A. baumannii infections. Increasing our knowledge of A. baumannii pathogenesis may help the development of novel therapeutic strategies based on anti-adhesive, anti-virulence, and anti-cell to cell signaling pathways drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number387
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Acinetobacter baumannii
  • Adherence
  • Community-acquired infections
  • Internalization
  • Invasion
  • Nosocomial infections
  • Persistence
  • Virulence factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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