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 H2
). 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.
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