Amoebal pathogens as emerging causal agents of pneumonia
Despite using modern microbiological diagnostic approaches, the aetiological agents of pneumonia remain unidentified in about 50% of cases. Some bacteria that grow poorly or not at all in axenic media used in routine clinical bacteriology laboratory but which can develop inside amoebae may be the agents of these lower respiratory tract infections (RTIs) of unexplained aetiology. Such amoebae-resisting bacteria, which coevolved with amoebae to resist their microbicidal machinery, may have developed virulence traits that help them survive within human macrophages, i.e. the first line of innate immune defence in the lung. We review here the current evidence for the emerging pathogenic role of various amoebae-resisting microorganisms as agents of RTIs in humans. Specifically, we discuss the emerging pathogenic roles of Legionella-like amoebal pathogens, novel Chlamydiae (Parachlamydia acanthamoebae, Simkania negevensis), waterborne mycobacteria and Bradyrhizobiaceae (Bosea and Afipia spp.).