When faced with nutritional deprivation, bacteria undergo a range of metabolic, regulatory, and biosynthetic changes. Those adjustments, which can be specific or independent of the missing nutrient, often alter bacterial tolerance to antibiotics. Here, using fluoroquinolones, we quantified Escherichia coli persister levels in cultures experiencing starvation from a lack of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), or magnesium (Mg2+). Interestingly, persister levels varied significantly based on the type of starvation as well as fluoroquinolone used with N-starved populations exhibiting the highest persistence to levofloxacin, and P-starved populations exhibiting the highest persistence to moxifloxacin. However, regardless of the type of starvation or fluoroquinolone used, DNA repair was required by persisters, with ∆recA and ∆recB uniformly exhibiting the lowest persistence of the mutants assayed. These results suggest that while the type of starvation and fluoroquinolone will modulate the level of persistence, the importance of homologous recombination is consistently observed, which provides further support for efforts to target homologous recombination for antipersister purposes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Nutrient deprivation