• Pseudomonas aeruginosa ;
  • efflux pumps;
  • tetraphenylphosphonium;
  • microbial physiology


Pseudomonas aeruginosa are known to have a wide physiological potential allowing them to constantly populate diverse environments leading to severe infections of humans such as septicemia, leg ulcers, and burn wounds. We set out to probe physiological characteristics of P. aeruginosa isolates from diabetic leg ulcers collected from Helsinki metropolitan area. A total of 61 clinical isolates were obtained. Detailed phenotypic (physiological) characteristics [outer membrane (OM) permeability, membrane voltage, and activity of multidrug resistance pumps] were determined in several growth phases leading to the division of the analyzed set of P. aeruginosa strains into five distinct clusters including cells with similar physiological properties. In addition, their antibiotic resistance patterns and genetic heterogeneity were determined. Multiple isolates from the same patient were genetically very closely related and belonged to the same phenotypic cluster. However, genetically close isolates from different patients expressed very different phenotypic properties. The characteristics of infected patients seem to determine the growth environments for microorganisms that adapt by changing their physiological and/or genetic properties.