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Fitness trade‐offs explain low levels of persister cells in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Stepanyan, Kristine ; Wenseleers, Tom ; Duéñez‐Guzmán, Edgar A ; Muratori, Frédéric ; Van den Bergh, Bram ; Verstraeten, Natalie ; De Meester, Luc ; Verstrepen, Kevin J ; Fauvart, Maarten ; Michiels, Jan

Molecular Ecology, 2015-04, Vol.24 (7), p.1572-1583 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Fitness trade‐offs explain low levels of persister cells in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Author: Stepanyan, Kristine ; Wenseleers, Tom ; Duéñez‐Guzmán, Edgar A ; Muratori, Frédéric ; Van den Bergh, Bram ; Verstraeten, Natalie ; De Meester, Luc ; Verstrepen, Kevin J ; Fauvart, Maarten ; Michiels, Jan
  • Subjects: persistence ; Pseudomonas aeruginosa ; pleiotropy ; evolutionarily stable strategy ; Genetic Variation ; Genetic Fitness ; Pseudomonas aeruginosa - genetics ; Anti-Bacterial Agents - pharmacology ; Pseudomonas aeruginosa - drug effects ; Drug Resistance, Bacterial - genetics ; Evolution, Molecular ; Analysis
  • Is Part Of: Molecular Ecology, 2015-04, Vol.24 (7), p.1572-1583
  • Description: Microbial populations often contain a fraction of slow‐growing persister cells that withstand antibiotics and other stress factors. Current theoretical models predict that persistence levels should reflect a stable state in which the survival advantage of persisters under adverse conditions is balanced with the direct growth cost impaired under favourable growth conditions, caused by the nonreplication of persister cells. Based on this direct growth cost alone, however, it remains challenging to explain the observed low levels of persistence (<<1%) seen in the populations of many species. Here, we present data from the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa that can explain this discrepancy by revealing various previously unknown costs of persistence. In particular, we show that in the absence of antibiotic stress, increased persistence is traded off against a lengthened lag phase as well as a reduced survival ability during stationary phase. We argue that these pleiotropic costs contribute to the very low proportions of persister cells observed among natural P. aeruginosa isolates (3 × 10−8–3 × 10−4) and that they can explain why strains with higher proportions of persister cells lose out very quickly in competition assays under favourable growth conditions, despite a negligible difference in maximal growth rate. We discuss how incorporating these trade‐offs could lead to models that can better explain the evolution of persistence in nature and facilitate the rational design of alternative therapeutic strategies for treating infectious diseases.
  • Publisher: England: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc
  • Language: English
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0962-1083
    EISSN: 1365-294X
    DOI: 10.1111/mec.13127
    PMID: 25721227

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