Evolution of Bacterial Tolerance Under Antibiotic Treatment and Its Implications on the Development of Resistance.
ABSTRACT: Recent laboratory evolution studies have shown that upon repetitive antibiotic treatments, bacterial populations will adapt and eventually became tolerant and resistant to the drug. Drug tolerance rapidly evolves upon frequent, intermittent antibiotic treatments, and such emerging drug tolerance seems to be specific to the treatment conditions, complicating clinical practice. Moreover, it has been shown that tolerance often promotes the development of resistance, which further reinforces the need of clinical diagnostics for antibiotic tolerance to reduce the occurrence of acquired resistance. Here, we discuss the laboratory evolution studies that were performed to track the development of tolerance in bacterial populations, and highlight the urgency of developing a comprehensive knowledge base of various tolerance phenotypes and their detection in clinics. Finally, we propose future directions for basic research in this growing field.
Project description:Antibiotic tolerance - the ability for prolonged survival under bactericidal treatments - is a potentially clinically significant phenomenon that is commonly overlooked in the clinical microbiology laboratory. Recent in vitro experiments show that high tolerance can evolve under intermittent antibiotic treatments in as little as eight exposures to high doses of antibiotics, suggesting that tolerance may evolve also in patients. However, tests for antibiotic susceptibilities, such as the disk-diffusion assay, evaluate only the concentration at which a bacterial strain stops growing, namely resistance level. High tolerance strains will not be detected using these tests. We present a simple modification of the standard disk-diffusion assay that allows the semi-quantitative evaluation of tolerance levels. This novel method, the "TDtest", enabled the detection of tolerant and persistent bacteria by promoting the growth of the surviving bacteria in the inhibition zone, once the antibiotic has diffused away. Using the TDtest, we were able to detect different levels of antibiotic tolerance in clinical isolates of E. coli. The TDtest also identified antibiotics that effectively eliminate tolerant bacteria. The additional information on drug susceptibility provided by the TDtest should enable tailoring better treatment regimens for pathogenic bacteria.
Project description:Antibiotic treatment generally results in the selection of resistant bacterial strains, and the dynamics of resistance evolution is dependent on complex interactions between cellular components. To better characterize the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and evaluate its dependence on gene regulatory networks, we performed systematic laboratory evolution of Escherichia coli strains with single-gene deletions of 173 transcription factors under three different antibiotics. This resulted in the identification of several genes whose deletion significantly suppressed resistance evolution, including arcA and gutM. Analysis of double-gene deletion strains suggested that the suppression of resistance evolution caused by arcA and gutM deletion was not caused by epistatic interactions with mutations known to confer drug resistance. These results provide a methodological basis for combinatorial drug treatments that may help to suppress the emergence of resistant pathogens by inhibiting resistance evolution.
Project description:The evolution of antibiotic resistance in microbes poses one of the greatest challenges to the management of human health. Because addressing the problem experimentally has been difficult, research on strategies to slow the evolution of resistance through the rational use of antibiotics has resorted to mathematical and computational models. However, despite many advances, several questions remain unsettled. Here we present a population model for rational antibiotic usage by adding three key features that have been overlooked: 1) the maximization of the frequency of uninfected patients in the human population rather than the minimization of antibiotic resistance in the bacterial population, 2) the use of cocktails containing antibiotic pairs, and 3) the imposition of tradeoff constraints on bacterial resistance to multiple drugs. Because of tradeoffs, bacterial resistance does not evolve directionally and the system reaches an equilibrium state. When considering the equilibrium frequency of uninfected patients, both cycling and mixing improve upon single-drug treatment strategies. Mixing outperforms optimal cycling regimens. Cocktails further improve upon aforementioned strategies. Moreover, conditions that increase the population frequency of uninfected patients also increase the recovery rate of infected individual patients. Thus, a rational strategy does not necessarily result in a tragedy of the commons because benefits to the individual patient and general public are not in conflict. Our identification of cocktails as the best strategy when tradeoffs between multiple-resistance are operating could also be extended to other host-pathogen systems. Cocktails or other multiple-drug treatments are additionally attractive because they allow re-using antibiotics whose utility has been negated by the evolution of single resistance.
Project description:Understanding the evolution of microorganisms under antibiotic treatments is a burning issue. Typically, several resistance mutations can accumulate under antibiotic treatment, and the way in which resistance mutations interact, i.e., epistasis, has been extensively studied. We recently showed that the evolution of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli is facilitated by the early appearance of tolerance mutations. In contrast to resistance, which reduces the effectiveness of the drug concentration, tolerance increases resilience to antibiotic treatment duration in a nonspecific way, for example when bacteria transiently arrest their growth. Both result in increased survival under antibiotics, but the interaction between resistance and tolerance mutations has not been studied. Here, we extend our analysis to include the evolution of a different type of tolerance and a different antibiotic class and measure experimentally the epistasis between tolerance and resistance mutations. We derive the expected model for the effect of tolerance and resistance mutations on the dynamics of survival under antibiotic treatment. We find that the interaction between resistance and tolerance mutations is synergistic in strains evolved under intermittent antibiotic treatment. We extend our analysis to mutations that result in antibiotic persistence, i.e., to tolerance that is conferred only on a subpopulation of cells. We show that even when this population heterogeneity is included in our analysis, a synergistic interaction between antibiotic persistence and resistance mutations remains. We expect our general framework for the epistasis in killing conditions to be relevant for other systems as well, such as bacteria exposed to phages or cancer cells under treatment.
Project description:Bacterial populations vary in their stress tolerance and population structure depending upon whether growth occurs in well-mixed or structured environments. We hypothesized that evolution in biofilms would generate greater genetic diversity than well-mixed environments and lead to different pathways of antibiotic resistance. We used experimental evolution and whole genome sequencing to test how the biofilm lifestyle influenced the rate, genetic mechanisms, and pleiotropic effects of resistance to ciprofloxacin in Acinetobacter baumannii populations. Both evolutionary dynamics and the identities of mutations differed between lifestyle. Planktonic populations experienced selective sweeps of mutations including the primary topoisomerase drug targets, whereas biofilm-adapted populations acquired mutations in regulators of efflux pumps. An overall trade-off between fitness and resistance level emerged, wherein biofilm-adapted clones were less resistant than planktonic but more fit in the absence of drug. However, biofilm populations developed collateral sensitivity to cephalosporins, demonstrating the clinical relevance of lifestyle on the evolution of resistance.
Project description:Antibiotic development is frequently plagued by the rapid emergence of drug resistance. However, assessing the risk of resistance development in the preclinical stage is difficult. Standard laboratory evolution approaches explore only a small fraction of the sequence space and fail to identify exceedingly rare resistance mutations and combinations thereof. Therefore, new rapid and exhaustive methods are needed to accurately assess the potential of resistance evolution and uncover the underlying mutational mechanisms. Here, we introduce directed evolution with random genomic mutations (DIvERGE), a method that allows an up to million-fold increase in mutation rate along the full lengths of multiple predefined loci in a range of bacterial species. In a single day, DIvERGE generated specific mutation combinations, yielding clinically significant resistance against trimethoprim and ciprofloxacin. Many of these mutations have remained previously undetected or provide resistance in a species-specific manner. These results indicate pathogen-specific resistance mechanisms and the necessity of future narrow-spectrum antibacterial treatments. In contrast to prior claims, we detected the rapid emergence of resistance against gepotidacin, a novel antibiotic currently in clinical trials. Based on these properties, DIvERGE could be applicable to identify less resistance-prone antibiotics at an early stage of drug development. Finally, we discuss potential future applications of DIvERGE in synthetic and evolutionary biology.
Project description:Drug resistance and tolerance greatly diminish the therapeutic potential of antibiotics against pathogens. Antibiotic tolerance by bacterial biofilms often leads to persistent infections, but its mechanisms are unclear. Here we use a proteomics approach, pulsed stable isotope labelling with amino acids (pulsed-SILAC), to quantify newly expressed proteins in colistin-tolerant subpopulations of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms (colistin is a 'last-resort' antibiotic against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens). Migration is essential for the formation of colistin-tolerant biofilm subpopulations, with colistin-tolerant cells using type IV pili to migrate onto the top of the colistin-killed biofilm. The colistin-tolerant cells employ quorum sensing (QS) to initiate the formation of new colistin-tolerant subpopulations, highlighting multicellular behaviour in antibiotic tolerance development. The macrolide erythromycin, which has been previously shown to inhibit the motility and QS of P. aeruginosa, boosts biofilm eradication by colistin. Our work provides insights on the mechanisms underlying the formation of antibiotic-tolerant populations in bacterial biofilms and indicates research avenues for designing more efficient treatments against biofilm-associated infections.
Project description:Bacteria have developed resistance against every antibiotic at a rate that is alarming considering the timescale at which new antibiotics are developed. Thus, there is a critical need to use antibiotics more effectively, extend the shelf life of existing antibiotics and minimize their side effects. This requires understanding the mechanisms underlying bacterial drug responses. Past studies have focused on survival in the presence of antibiotics by individual cells, as genetic mutants or persisters. Also important, however, is the fact that a population of bacterial cells can collectively survive antibiotic treatments lethal to individual cells. This tolerance can arise by diverse mechanisms, including resistance-conferring enzyme production, titration-mediated bistable growth inhibition, swarming and interpopulation interactions. These strategies can enable rapid population recovery after antibiotic treatment and provide a time window during which otherwise susceptible bacteria can acquire inheritable genetic resistance. Here, we emphasize the potential for targeting collective antibiotic tolerance behaviors as an antibacterial treatment strategy.
Project description:Recalcitrance of genetically susceptible bacteria to antibiotic killing is a hallmark of bacterial drug tolerance. This phenomenon is prevalent in biofilms, persisters, and also planktonic cells and is associated with chronic or relapsing infections with pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus. Here we report the in vitro evolution of an S. aureus strain that exhibits a high degree of nonsusceptibility to daptomycin as a result of cyclic challenges with bactericidal concentrations of the drug. This phenotype was attributed to stationary growth phase-dependent drug tolerance and was clearly distinguished from resistance. The underlying genetic basis was revealed to be an adaptive point mutation in the putative inorganic phosphate (Pi) transporter gene pitA. Drug tolerance caused by this allele, termed pitA6, was abrogated when the upstream gene pitR was inactivated. Enhanced tolerance toward daptomycin, as well as the acyldepsipeptide antibiotic ADEP4 and various combinations of other drugs, was accompanied by elevated intracellular concentrations of Pi and polyphosphate, which may reversibly interfere with critical cellular functions. The evolved strain displayed increased rates of survival within human endothelial cells, demonstrating the correlation of intracellular persistence and drug tolerance. These findings will be useful for further investigations of S. aureus drug tolerance, toward the development of additional antipersister compounds and strategies.
Project description:Metabolically quiescent bacteria represent a large proportion of those in natural and host environments, and they are often refractory to antibiotic treatment. Such drug tolerance is also observed in the laboratory during stationary phase, when bacteria face stress and starvation-induced growth arrest. Tolerance requires (p)ppGpp signaling, which mediates the stress and starvation stringent response (SR), but the downstream effectors that confer tolerance are unclear. We previously demonstrated that the SR is linked to increased antioxidant defenses in Pseudomonas aeruginosa We now demonstrate that superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity is a key factor in SR-mediated multidrug tolerance in stationary-phase P. aeruginosa Inactivation of the SR leads to loss of SOD activity and decreased multidrug tolerance during stationary phase. Genetic or chemical complementation of SOD activity of the ?relA spoT mutant (?SR) is sufficient to restore antibiotic tolerance to WT levels. Remarkably, we observe high membrane permeability and increased drug internalization upon ablation of SOD activity. Combined, our results highlight an unprecedented mode of SR-mediated multidrug tolerance in stationary-phase P. aeruginosa and suggest that inhibition of SOD activity may potentiate current antibiotics.