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Title: Activated ClpP kills persisters and eradicates a chronic biofilm infection.

The current antibiotic crisis stems from two distinct phenomena-drug resistance, and drug tolerance. Resistance mechanisms such as drug efflux or modification prevent antibiotics from binding to their targets 1, allowing pathogens to grow. Antibiotic tolerance is the property of persister cells, phenotypic variants of regular bacteria 2. Antibiotics kill by corrupting targets, but these are inactive in dormant persisters, leading to tolerance. Persisters were first identified by Joseph Bigger in 1944, when he discovered a surviving sub-population of Staphylococcus following treatment with penicillin3. Persisters are largely responsible for recalcitrance of chronic diseases such as tuberculosis, and various infections associated with biofilms - endocarditis, osteomyelitis, infections of catheters and indwelling devices, and deep-seated infections of soft tissues 4. There are a number of redundant pathways involved in persister formation5,6 precluding development of drugs inhibiting their formation. The acyldepsipeptide antibiotic (ADEP 4) has been shown to activate the ClpP protease resulting in death of growing cells 7. Here we show that ADEP4 activated ClpP becomes a fairly non-specific protease and kills persister cells by degradation of over 400 intracellular targets. clpP mutants are resistant to ADEP4 7, but we find that they display increased susceptibility to killing by a range of conventionalmore » antibiotics. Combining ADEP4 with rifampicin leads to eradication of persisters, stationary and biofilm populations of Staphylococcus aureus in vitro and in a deep-seated murine infection. Target corruption/activation provides an approach to killing persisters and eradicating chronic infections.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47623; 400412000
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nature, 503(7476):365-370
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory