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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2019 Jul;17(7):441-448. doi: 10.1038/s41579-019-0196-3.

Definitions and guidelines for research on antibiotic persistence.

Author information

1
Racah Institute of Physics, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. nathalie.balaban@mail.huji.ac.il.
2
MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection, Imperial College London, London, UK.
3
Department of Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
5
Department of Environmental Microbiology, Eawag, Dubendorf, Switzerland.
6
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
7
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
8
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA.
9
Focal Area Infection Biology, Biozentrum of the University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
10
Institute for Medical Engineering & Science, Department of Biological Engineering, and Synthetic Biology Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
11
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA.
12
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.
13
Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
14
Institut Pasteur, Genetics of Biofilms Laboratory, Paris, France.
15
Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
16
Molecular Systems Biology, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.
17
Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
18
Center for Microbiology, KU Leuven-University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
19
Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD, USA.
20
Infectious Diseases Department, Genentech, South San Francisco, CA, USA.
21
Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.
22
Faculté des Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium.
23
Division of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

Increasing concerns about the rising rates of antibiotic therapy failure and advances in single-cell analyses have inspired a surge of research into antibiotic persistence. Bacterial persister cells represent a subpopulation of cells that can survive intensive antibiotic treatment without being resistant. Several approaches have emerged to define and measure persistence, and it is now time to agree on the basic definition of persistence and its relation to the other mechanisms by which bacteria survive exposure to bactericidal antibiotic treatments, such as antibiotic resistance, heteroresistance or tolerance. In this Consensus Statement, we provide definitions of persistence phenomena, distinguish between triggered and spontaneous persistence and provide a guide to measuring persistence. Antibiotic persistence is not only an interesting example of non-genetic single-cell heterogeneity, it may also have a role in the failure of antibiotic treatments. Therefore, it is our hope that the guidelines outlined in this article will pave the way for better characterization of antibiotic persistence and for understanding its relevance to clinical outcomes.

PMID:
30980069
DOI:
10.1038/s41579-019-0196-3

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