Characterizing Z-rings in Persister Cells



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Persister cells are a subpopulation of bacterial cells that survive antibiotic treatments without specialized mechanisms by temporarily entering a dormant state [1]. Because they proliferate into new bacterial populations after the antibiotic stress is removed, persister cells are associated with recalcitrant infections and antibiotic failure [1,2]. Hence, persisters are a significant public health challenge. It is also important to note that persister cell progeny consists of persisters and cells susceptible to the same antibiotics as the non-persister cells in the original population. Thus, persisters are a transient phenotype. This research project studies Z-rings, physiological structures in bacterial cells that form when the cells are about to divide into daughter cells. Z rings represent a potential biomarker for persister cells because there seems to be a correlation between their formation and persister resuscitation [3]. Specifically, this project aims to investigate this correlation in persister cells formed after ampicillin and fosfomycin treatments. If Z-rings are fundamental to persister survival, researchers can develop clinical therapies that target the Z-rings to sterilize persister cells and reduce recalcitrant bacterial infections. References: 1. Lewis, K., 2010. Persister cells. Annual review of microbiology, 64, pp.357-372. 2. Gollan, B., Grabe, G., Michaux, C. and Helaine, S., 2019. Bacterial persisters and infection: past, present, and progressing. Annual review of microbiology, 73, pp.359-385. 3. Mohiuddin, S.G., Massahi, A. and Orman, M.A., 2022. Lon Deletion Impairs Persister Cell Resuscitation in Escherichia coli. Mbio, 13(1), pp.e02187-21.



Chemical Engineering