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J Bacteriol. 1998 Apr;180(7):1750-8.

Characterization of the starvation-survival response of Staphylococcus aureus.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.


The starvation-survival response of Staphylococcus aureus as a result of glucose, amino acid, phosphate, or multiple-nutrient limitation was investigated. Glucose and multiple-nutrient limitation resulted in the loss of viability of about 99 to 99.9% of the population within 2 days. The remaining surviving cells developed increased survival potential, remaining viable for months. Amino acid or phosphate limitation did not lead to the development of a stable starvation-survival state, and cells became nonculturable within 7 days. For multiple-nutrient limitation, the development of the starvation-survival state was cell density dependent. Starvation survival was associated with a decrease in cell size and increase in resistance to acid shock and oxidative stress. There was no evidence for the formation of a viable but nonculturable state during starvation as demonstrated by flow cytometry. Long-term survival of cells was dependent on cell wall and protein biosynthesis. Analysis of [35S]methionine incorporation and labelled proteins demonstrated that differential protein synthesis occurred deep into starvation.

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