Persisters

Title:
Persisters : a distinct physiological state of E. coli
Creator:
Shah, Devang (Author)
Zhang, Zhigang (Author)
Khodursky, Arkady B. (Author)
Kaldalu, Niilo (Author)
Kurg, Kristi (Author)
Lewis, Kim (Author)
Language:
English
Publisher:
BioMedCentral
Copyright date:
2006
Type of resource:
Text
Genre:
Articles
Format:
electronic
Digital origin:
born digital
Abstract/Description:
Background
Bacterial populations contain persisters, phenotypic variants that constitute approximately 1% of cells in stationary phase and biofilm cultures. Multidrug tolerance of persisters is largely responsible for the inability of antibiotics to completely eradicate infections. Recent progress in understanding persisters is encouraging, but the main obstacle in understanding their nature was our inability to isolate these elusive cells from a wild-type population since their discovery in 1944.

Results
We hypothesized that persisters are dormant cells with a low level of translation, and used this to physically sort dim E. coli cells which do not contain sufficient amounts of unstable GFP expressed from a promoter whose activity depends on the growth rate. The dim cells were tolerant to antibiotics and exhibited a gene expression profile distinctly different from those observed for cells in exponential or stationary phases. Genes coding for toxin-antitoxin module proteins were expressed in persisters and are likely contributors to this condition.

Conclusion
We report a method for persister isolation and conclude that these cells represent a distinct state of bacterial physiology.
Comments:
Originally published in BMC Microbiology, 6:53 (2006). doi:10.1186/1471-2180-6-53
Subjects and keywords:
Multidrug resistance
Antibiotics
Drug resistance in microorganisms
Escherichia coli
bacteria
persisters
multidrug tolerance
antibiotics
Bacteriology

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