The genus Prevotella in cystic fibrosis airways Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Airway disease resulting from chronic bacterial colonization and consequential inflammation is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Although traditionally considered to be due to only a few pathogens, recent re-examination of CF airway microbiology has revealed that polymicrobial communities that include many obligate anaerobes colonize lower airways. The purpose of this study was to examine Prevotella species in CF airways by quantitative culture and phenotypic characterization. Expectorated sputum was transferred to an anaerobic environment immediately following collection and examined by quantitative microbiology using a variety of culture media. Isolates were identified as facultative or obligate anaerobes and the later group was identified by 16S rRNA sequencing. Prevotella spp. represented the majority of isolates. Twelve different species of Prevotella were recovered from 16 patients with three species representing 65% of isolates. Multiple Prevotella species were often isolated from the same sputum sample. These isolates were biochemically characterized using Rapid ID 32A kits (BioMérieux), and for their ability to produce autoinducer-2 and beta-lactamases. Considerable phenotypic variability between isolates of the same species was observed. The quantity and composition of Prevotella species within a patients' airway microbiome varied over time. Our results suggest that the diversity and dynamics of Prevotella in CF airways may contribute to airway disease.


  • Field, Tyler R
  • Sibley, Christopher D
  • Parkins, Michael D
  • Rabin, Harvey R
  • Surette, Michael

publication date

  • August 2010