What is it about?

We examined mutations that E. coli bacteria picked up during antibiotic treatment in patients. We found that some mutations led to increased production of antibiotic tolerant persister subpopulations. These strains also showed decreased susceptibility to antibiotics in our murine model of infection.

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Why is it important?

This paper provides important evidence that persister cell formation is contributing to antibiotic treatment failure in the clinic.


We need to develop a more thorough understanding of why antibiotic fail in the clinic. Resistance only explains a small proportion of patient deaths. The more thorough an understanding we develop, the better our capability will be to identify problematic isolates, choose more appropriate therapy and develop new treatments to improve patient outcomes.

Brian Conlon
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: In-patient evolution of a high-persister Escherichia coli strain with reduced in vivo antibiotic susceptibility, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 2024, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2314514121.
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