Bacterial persisters are phenotypic variants with an extraordinary capacity to tolerate antibiotics, and they are hypothesized to be a main cause of chronic and relapsing infections. Recent evidence has suggested that the metabolism of persisters can be targeted to develop therapeutic countermeasures; however, knowledge of persister metabolism remains limited due to difficulties associated with isolating these rare and transient phenotypic variants. By using a technique to measure persister catabolic activity, which is based on the ability of metabolites to enable aminoglycoside (AG) killing of persisters, we investigated the role of seven global transcriptional regulators (ArcA, Cra, cyclic AMP [cAMP] receptor protein [CRP], DksA, FNR, Lrp, and RpoS) on persister metabolism. We found that removal of CRP resulted in a loss of AG potentiation in persisters for all metabolites tested. These results highlight a central role for cAMP/CRP in persister metabolism, as its perturbation can significantly diminish the metabolic capabilities of persisters and effectively eliminate the ability of AGs to eradicate these troublesome bacteria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases