Formation of Staphylococcus Aureus Persister Cells in the Long-Term-Survival Phase and Destruction by a Combination of Conventional Antibiotics

Persister cells are defined as a small sub-population of bacteria that are tolerant to antibiotics. Tolerance to antibiotics is thought to be due to persister cells being dormant; characterized by minimal to no metabolic activity and a shutdown of replication (Lewis, 2010). It has been demonstrated in the Knabel Lab that the frequency of persister cells reaches 100% in the long-term-survival (LTS) phase in Listeria monocytogenes. To determine if Staphylococcus aureus also reaches 100% persister cells in the LTS phase, penicillin was used as treatment at various phases of growth. S. aureus persister cells were then exposed to the antibiotics penicillin, rifampicin, gentamicin, and a combination of rifampicin and gentamicin to evaluate the effect of different combinations of antibiotics on the destruction of S. aureus persister cells. The destruction of dormant persister cells by a combination of rifampicin and gentamicin suggests a low level of metabolic activity is still occurring within persister cells during the LTS phase.
We speculate this minimal metabolic activity may allow long-term-survival via the synthesis of critical survival proteins (Letchner, 2012). The National Institutes of Health reported that up to 80% of all infections in the United States are now associated with persister cells within biofilms. Therefore, research involving persister cell formation and destruction is critical for curing the many devastating chronic infections currently associated with persister cells.

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Work Title Formation of Staphylococcus Aureus Persister Cells in the Long-Term-Survival Phase and Destruction by a Combination of Conventional Antibiotics
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Penn State
Creators
  1. Adrian Paskey
Keyword
  1. Food Science
  2. Persister cells
  3. Staphylococcus Aureus
  4. antibiotics
License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
Work Type Thesis
Acknowledgments
  1. Sarah Ades - thesis reader
  2. Stephen Knabel - research mentor
Publisher
  1. Eberly College of Science
  2. Department of Food Science
Publication Date Spring 2015
Subject
  1. Food Science
Language
  1. English
Deposited June 22, 2016

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