Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic pathogen that has emerged as a prevalent source of nosocomial infections, most frequently causing ventilator-associated pneumonia. The emergence of pan-drug resistant strains magnifies the problem by reducing viable treatment options and effectively increasing the mortality rate associated with Acinetobacter infections. In light of this rising threat, research on A. baumannii epidemiology, antibiotic resistance, and pathogenesis is accelerating. The recent development of both in vitro and in vivo models has enabled studies probing the host-Acinetobacter interface. Bacterial genetic screens and comparative genomic studies have led to the identification of several A. baumannii virulence factors. Additionally, investigations into host defence mechanisms using animal models or cell culture have provided insight into the innate immune response to infection. This review highlights some of the key attributes of A. baumannii virulence with an emphasis on bacterial interactions with the innate immune system.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.