1887

Abstract

A variety of bacteria, including , are known to enter the viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state under various stress conditions. During this state, cells lose colony-forming activities on conventional agar plates while retaining signs of viability. Diverse environmental stresses including starvation induce the VBNC state. However, little is known about the genetic mechanism inducing this state. Here, we aimed to reveal the genetic determinants of the VBNC state of . We hypothesized that the VBNC state is a process wherein specific gene products important for colony formation are depleted during the extended period of stress conditions. If so, higher expression of these genes would maintain colony-forming activities, thereby restraining cells from entering the VBNC state. From an plasmid-encoded ORF library, we identified genes that were responsible for maintaining high colony-forming activities after exposure to starvation condition. Among these, encoding cAMP phosphodiesterase exhibited higher performance in the maintenance of colony-forming activities. As overexpression decreases intracellular cAMP, cAMP or its complex with cAMP-receptor protein (CRP) may negatively regulate colony-forming activities under stress conditions. We confirmed this using deletion mutants lacking adenylate cyclase or CRP. These mutants fully maintained colony-forming activities even after a long period of starvation, while wild-type cells lost most of this activity. Thus, we concluded that the lack of cAMP-CRP effectively retains high colony-forming activities, indicating that cAMP-CRP acts as a positive regulator necessary for the induction of the VBNC state in .

Keyword(s): cAMP , cpdA , CRP , Escherichia coli and VBNC
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2018-03-01
2020-01-26
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