Subpopulations of stressed Y. pseudotuberculosis preferentially survive doxycycline treatment within host tissues

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
J. R. RanesesKimberly M. Davis


Severe systemic bacterial infections result in colonization of deep tissues, which can be very difficult to eliminate with antibiotics. It remains unclear if this is because antibiotics are not reaching inhibitory concentrations within tissues, if subsets of bacteria are less susceptible to antibiotics, or if both contribute to limited treatment efficacy. To determine the concentration of doxycycline (Dox) present within deep tissues following treatment, we generated a fluorescent transcriptional reporter derived from the tet operon to specifically detect intracellular tetracycline exposure at the single bacterial cell level. Dox exposure was detected in the spleen 2 hours after intraperitoneal injection, and by 4 hours post-injection, this treatment resulted in a significant decrease in viable Yersinia pseudotuberculosis in the spleen. Nitric oxide-stressed bacteria preferentially survived treatment, suggesting stress was sufficient to alter Dox susceptibility. Many bacteria (~10%) survived a single dose of Dox, and the antibiotic accumulated at the periphery of microcolonies to growth inhibitory concentrations until 48 hours post-treatment. After this timepoint, antibiotic concentrations decreased and bacterial growth resumed...Continue Reading

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