Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Logo for

Science 305 (5690): 1578-1579

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Noninherited Resistance to Antibiotics

Bruce R. Levin

Why is it that the rate of mortality of bacteria exposed to bactericidal antibiotics declines with time but sensitive cells survive for hours or even days of exposure? The mechanisms responsible for this persistence have perplexed microbiologists for decades. In his Perspective, Levin discusses a pair of recent studies (Balaban et al., Miller et al.) that shed light on the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon and the way in which these bacterial persisters emerge. Levin also considers the potential clinical implications of this non-inherited form of resistance to antibiotics.

The author is in the Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. E-mail: blevin{at}

Genomic analysis reveals a tight link between transcription factor dynamics and regulatory network architecture.
R. Jothi, S. Balaji, A. Wuster, J. A. Grochow, J. Gsponer, T. M. Przytycka, L. Aravind, and M. M. Babu (2014)
Mol Syst Biol 5, 294
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Large mutational target size for rapid emergence of bacterial persistence.
H. S. Girgis, K. Harris, and S. Tavazoie (2012)
PNAS 109, 12740-12745
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Selective Killing of Bacterial Persisters by a Single Chemical Compound without Affecting Normal Antibiotic-Sensitive Cells.
J.-S. Kim, P. Heo, T.-J. Yang, K.-S. Lee, D.-H. Cho, B. T. Kim, J.-H. Suh, H.-J. Lim, D. Shin, S.-K. Kim, et al. (2011)
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 55, 5380-5383
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Decrease in Penicillin Susceptibility Due to Heat Shock Protein ClpL in Streptococcus pneumoniae.
T. D.-H. Tran, H.-Y. Kwon, E.-H. Kim, K.-W. Kim, D. E. Briles, S. Pyo, and D.-K. Rhee (2011)
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 55, 2714-2728
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Protection of Salmonella by ampicillin-resistant Escherichia coli in the presence of otherwise lethal drug concentrations.
M. H. Perlin, D. R. Clark, C. McKenzie, H. Patel, N. Jackson, C. Kormanik, C. Powell, A. Bajorek, D. A. Myers, L. A. Dugatkin, et al. (2009)
Proc R Soc B 276, 3759-3768
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Testing of Experimental Compounds in a Relapse Model of Tuberculosis Using Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor Gene-Disrupted Mice.
L. K. Woolhiser, D. R. Hoff, K. S. Marietta, I. M. Orme, and A. J. Lenaerts (2009)
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 53, 306-308
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Differential Adaptive Response and Survival of Salmonella enterica Serovar Enteritidis Planktonic and Biofilm Cells Exposed to Benzalkonium Chloride.
A. K. Mangalappalli-Illathu, S. Vidovic, and D. R. Korber (2008)
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 52, 3669-3680
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The evolution of contact-dependent inhibition in non-growing populations of Escherichia coli.
M. Lemonnier, B. R Levin, T. Romeo, K. Garner, M.-R. Baquero, J. Mercante, E. Lemichez, F. Baquero, and J. Blazquez (2008)
Proc R Soc B 275, 3-10
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Conditional Mutation of an Essential Putative Glycoprotease Eliminates Autolysis in Staphylococcus aureus.
L. Zheng, C. Yu, K. Bayles, I. Lasa, and Y. Ji (2007)
J. Bacteriol. 189, 2734-2742
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Antibiotic treatment in vitro of phenotypically tolerant bacterial populations.
C. Wiuff and D. I. Andersson (2007)
J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 59, 254-263
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882