Establishment of a method to rapidly assay bacterial persister metabolism

Mehmet A. Orman, Mark P. Brynildsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Bacterial persisters exhibit an extraordinary tolerance to antibiotics that is dependent on their metabolic state. Although persister metabolism promises to be a rich source of antipersister strategies, there is relatively little known about the metabolism of these rare and transient phenotypic variants. To address this knowledge gap, we explored the use of several techniques, and we found that only one measured persister metabolism. This assay was based on the phenomenon of metabolite-enabled aminoglycoside killing of persisters, and we used it to characterize the metabolic heterogeneity of different persister populations. From these investigations, we determined that glycerol and glucose are the most ubiquitously used carbon sources by various types of Escherichia coli persisters, suggesting that these metabolites might prove beneficial to deliver in conjunction with aminoglycosides for the treatment of chronic and recurrent infections. In addition, we demonstrated that the persister metabolic assay developed here is amenable to high-throughput screening with the use of phenotype arrays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4398-4409
Number of pages12
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology


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