Slow and steady wins the race: an examination of bacterial persistence

  title={Slow and steady wins the race: an examination of bacterial persistence},
  author={Tara L. Renbarger and Jennifer M Baker and W. Matthew Sattley},
  journal={AIMS Microbiology},
  pages={171 - 185}
Bacterial persistence is a state of metabolic dormancy among a small fraction (<1%) of a genetically identical population of cells that, as a result, becomes transiently resistant to environmental stressors. Such cells, called persisters, are able to survive indeterminate periods of exposure to challenging and even hostile environmental conditions, including nutrient deprivation, oxidative stress, or the presence of an antibiotic to which the bacterium would normally be susceptible… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Recovery and characterization of Proteus mirabilis persisters
The results revealed that 1.3% of persister cells could be recovered from the Proteus mirabilis test isolate, and upon resuscitation, these cell subpopulations exhibited slow growth rate than wild-type cells.
Persisters of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Proteus mirabilis: A Common Phenomenon and Different Behavior Profiles
This study aimed to isolate, characterize and inhibit persister subpopulation in two clinical isolates Klebsiella pneumoniae and Proteus mirabilis with complete eradication of persisters obtained by combining silver nitrate with ciprofloxacin for each test isolate.
Genomic and Transcriptomic Profiling of Phoenix Colonies
The mechanisms behind phoenix colony and VBNC-like colony emergence were further explored using both whole genome sequencing and RNA sequencing and multiple differentially expressed genes that may play a role in phoenix colonies emergence were revealed.
Recent Advances in Surface Nanoengineering for Biofilm Prevention and Control. Part I: Molecular Basis of Biofilm Recalcitrance. Passive Anti-Biofouling Nanocoatings
A state-of-the-art review of the surface nanoengineering strategies currently used to design antibiofilm coatings, where both “fouling-resistant” and “ fouling release” strategies are addressed as well as their synergic combination in a single unique nanoplatform.
Characterization and Antibiofilm Activity of Mannitol–Chitosan-Blended Paste for Local Antibiotic Delivery System
Clinically, this paste could be loaded with clinician-selected antibiotics and used as an adjunctive therapy for musculoskeletal infection prevention and treatment and had decreased dissociation and degradation in the enzyme lysozyme compared to blends without mannitol.


Multidrug tolerance of biofilms and persister cells.
  • K. Lewis
  • Biology
    Current topics in microbiology and immunology
  • 2008
Identification of persister genes opens the way to a rational design of anti-biofilm therapy and combination of a conventional antibiotic with a compound inhibiting persister formation or maintenance may produce an effective therapeutic.
PhoU Is a Persistence Switch Involved in Persister Formation and Tolerance to Multiple Antibiotics and Stresses in Escherichia coli
A new persistence gene, phoU, is identified in Escherichia coli, whose inactivation leads to a generalized higher susceptibility than that of the parent strain to a diverse range of antibiotics, including ampicillin, norfloxacin, and gentamicin.
Bacterial Persistence
It is demonstrated that wild-type persistence is suited for environments in which antibiotic stress is a rare event, and that clonal bacterial populations may use persister cells, whose slow division rate under growth conditions leads to lower population fitness, as an “insurance policy” against antibiotic encounters.
Persisters: a distinct physiological state of E. coli
A method for persister isolation is reported and it is concluded that these cells represent a distinct state of bacterial physiology.
Dormancy Is Not Necessary or Sufficient for Bacterial Persistence
It is found that bacteria that are rapidly growing prior to antibiotic exposure can give rise to persisters and that a lack of replication or low metabolic activity prior to antibiotics treatment simply increases the likelihood that a cell is a persister.
Regulation of phenotypic variability by a threshold-based mechanism underlies bacterial persistence
It is concluded that toxin–antitoxin modules in general represent a mixed network motif that can serve to produce a subpopulation of dormant cells and to supply a mechanism for regulating the frequency and duration of growth arrest.
Quantitative analysis of persister fractions suggests different mechanisms of formation among environmental isolates of E. coli
Data suggest that the fraction of cells that survive antibiotic treatment (persist) depends critically on the specific antibiotic that is used, suggesting that physiological changes in addition to dormancy can underlie persister phenotypes.
Specialized persister cells and the mechanism of multidrug tolerance in Escherichia coli.
HipA is the first validated persister-MDT gene and it is suggested that random fluctuation in the levels of MDT proteins leads to the formation of rare persister cells.
Bacterial Persister Cell Formation and Dormancy
It is concluded that the best model for persister cells is still dormancy, with the latest mechanistic studies shedding light on how cells reach this dormant state.
Bacterial persistence: some new insights into an old phenomenon
A broad overview of bacterial persistence is presented to illustrate its significance and the need for further exploration.