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Inhibition of stationary phase respiration impairs persister formation in E. coli

Author(s): Orman, Mehmet A; Brynildsen, Mark P

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Abstract: Bacterial persisters are rare phenotypic variants that temporarily tolerate high antibiotic concentrations. Persisters have been hypothesized to underlie the recalcitrance of biofilm infections, and strategies to eliminate these cells have the potential to improve treatment outcomes for many hospital-treated infections. Here we investigate the role of stationary phase metabolism in generation of type I persisters in Escherichia coli, which are those that are formed by passage through stationary phase. We find that persisters are unlikely to derive from bacteria with low redox activity, and that inhibition of respiration during stationary phase reduces persister levels by up to ∼1,000-fold. Loss of stationary phase respiratory activity prevents digestion of endogenous proteins and RNA, which yields bacteria that are more capable of translation, replication and concomitantly cell death when exposed to antibiotics. These findings establish bacterial respiration as a prime target for reducing the number of persisters formed in nutrient-depleted, non-growing populations.
Publication Date: 6-Aug-2015
Electronic Publication Date: 6-Aug-2015
Citation: Orman, Mehmet A, Brynildsen, Mark P. (2015). Inhibition of stationary phase respiration impairs persister formation in E. coli. Nature Communications, 6 (7983 - 7983. doi:10.1038/ncomms8983
DOI: doi:10.1038/ncomms8983
EISSN: 2041-1723
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Nature Communications
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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