Unraveling CRP/cAMP-Mediated Metabolic Regulation In Escherichia coli Persister Cells

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Unraveling CRP/cAMP-Mediated Metabolic Regulation In Escherichia coli Persister Cells

Authors

Ngo, H. G.; Mohiuddin, S. G.; Ananda, A.; Orman, M.

Abstract

A substantial gap persists in our comprehension of how bacterial metabolism undergoes rewiring during the transition to a persistent state. Also, it remains unclear which metabolic mechanisms become indispensable for persister cell survival. To address these questions, we directed our efforts towards persister cells in Escherichia coli that emerge during the late stationary phase. These cells have been recognized for their exceptional resilience and are commonly believed to be in a dormant state. Our results demonstrate that the global metabolic regulator Crp/cAMP redirects the metabolism of these antibiotic-tolerant cells from anabolism to oxidative phosphorylation. Although our data indicates that persisters exhibit a reduced metabolic rate compared to rapidly growing exponential-phase cells, their survival still relies on energy metabolism. Extensive genomic-level analyses of metabolomics, proteomics, and single-gene deletions consistently emphasize the critical role of energy metabolism, specifically the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, electron transport chain (ETC), and ATP synthase, in sustaining the viability of persisters. Altogether, this study provides much-needed clarification regarding the role of energy metabolism in antibiotic tolerance and highlights the importance of using a multipronged approach at the genomic level to obtain a broader picture of the metabolic state of persister cells.

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