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Microorganisms 2015, 3(4), 746-758; doi:10.3390/microorganisms3040746

Carbon-Starvation Induces Cross-Resistance to Thermal, Acid, and Oxidative Stress in Serratia marcescens

Department of Biology, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA 30118, USA
Present Address: Department of Biology, East Georgia State College, Swainsboro, GA 30401, USA
Present Address: Georgia Department of Agriculture, Atlanta, GA 30334, USA.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Christophe Lacroix
Received: 14 August 2015 / Revised: 28 September 2015 / Accepted: 21 October 2015 / Published: 26 October 2015
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Abstract

The broad host-range pathogen Serratia marcescens survives in diverse host and non-host environments, often enduring conditions in which the concentration of essential nutrients is growth-limiting. In such environments, carbon and energy source starvation (carbon-starvation) is one of the most common forms of stress encountered by S. marcescens. Related members of the family Enterobacteriaceae are known to undergo substantial changes in gene expression and physiology in response to the specific stress of carbon-starvation, enabling non-spore-forming cells to survive periods of prolonged starvation and exposure to other forms of stress (i.e., starvation-induced cross-resistance). To determine if carbon-starvation also results in elevated levels of cross-resistance in S. marcescens, both log-phase and carbon-starved cultures, depleted of glucose before the onset of high cell-density stationary-phase, were grown in minimal media at either 30 °C or 37 °C and were then challenged for resistance to high temperature (50 °C), low pH (pH 2.8), and oxidative stress (15 mM H2O2). In general, carbon-starved cells exhibited a higher level of resistance to thermal stress, acid stress, and oxidative stress compared to log-phase cells. The extent of carbon-starvation-induced cross-resistance was dependent on incubation temperature and on the particular strain of S. marcescens. In addition, strain- and temperature-dependent variations in long-term starvation survival were also observed. The enhanced stress-resistance of starved S. marcescens cells could be an important factor in their survival and persistence in many non-host environments and within certain host microenvironments where the availability of carbon sources is suboptimal for growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon-starvation; stress response; stress resistance; starvation survival; strain variation; opportunistic pathogen carbon-starvation; stress response; stress resistance; starvation survival; strain variation; opportunistic pathogen
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pittman, J.R.; Kline, L.C.; Kenyon, W.J. Carbon-Starvation Induces Cross-Resistance to Thermal, Acid, and Oxidative Stress in Serratia marcescens. Microorganisms 2015, 3, 746-758.

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