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.
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