Delineation of a Bacterial Starvation Stress Response Network Which Can Mediate Antibiotic Tolerance Development
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AbstractThis study aimed at elucidating the physiological basis of bacterial antibiotic tolerance. By use of a combined phenotypic and gene knockout approach, exogenous nutrient composition was identified as a crucial environmental factor which could mediate progressive development of tolerance with markedly varied drug specificity and sustainability. Deprivation of amino acids was a prerequisite for tolerance formation, conferring condition-specific phenotypes against inhibitors of cell wall synthesis and DNA replication (ampicillin and ofloxacin, respectively), according to the relative abundances of ammonium salts, phosphate, and nucleobases. Upon further depletion of glucose, this variable phase consistently evolved into a sustainable mode, along with enhanced capacity to withstand the effect of the protein synthesis inhibitor gentamicin. Nevertheless, all phenotypes produced during spontaneous nutrient depletion lacked the sustainable, multidrug-tolerant features exhibited by the stationary-phase population and were attributed to complex interaction between starvation-mediated metabolic and stress protection responses on the basis of the following reasons: (i) the nutrition-dependent tolerance characteristics observed suggested that adaptive biosynthetic mechanisms could suppress but not fully avert tolerance under transient starvation conditions; (ii) formation of specific phenotypes could be inhibited by suppressing protein synthesis prior to nutrient depletion; (iii) bacteriostatic drugs produced only weak tolerance in the absence of starvation signals; and (iv) the attenuation of the stringent and SOS responses, as well as the functionality of other putative tolerance determinants, including rpoS, hipA, glpD, and phoU, could alter the induction requirement and drug specificity of the resultant phenotypes. These data reveal the common physiological grounds characteristic of starvation responses and the onset of antibiotic tolerance in bacteria.
All Author(s) ListFung DKC, Chan EWC, Chin ML, Chan RCY
Journal nameAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Volume Number54
Issue Number3
Pages1082 - 1093
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
Web of Science Subject CategoriesMicrobiology; MICROBIOLOGY; Pharmacology & Pharmacy; PHARMACOLOGY & PHARMACY

Last updated on 2021-22-09 at 23:51