Heterogeneous bacterial persisters and engineering approaches to eliminate them

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2011 Oct;14(5):593-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2011.09.002. Epub 2011 Sep 19.


Bacterial persistence is a state in which a subpopulation of cells (persisters) survives antibiotic treatment, and has been implicated in the tolerance of clinical infections and the recalcitrance of biofilms. There has been a renewed interest in the role of bacterial persisters in treatment failure in light of a wealth of recent findings. Here we review recent laboratory studies of bacterial persistence. Further, we pose the hypothesis that each bacterial population may contain a diverse collection of persisters and discuss engineering strategies for persister eradication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Drug Tolerance*
  • Humans
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Treatment Failure


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents