The fitness cost of streptomycin resistance depends on rpsL mutation, carbon source and RpoS (sigmaS).
ABSTRACT Mutations that cause antibiotic resistance often produce associated fitness costs. These costs have a detrimental effect on the fate of resistant organisms in natural populations and could be exploited in designing drugs, therapeutic regimes, and intervention strategies. The streptomycin resistance (StrR) mutations K42N and P90S in ribosomal protein S12 impair growth on rich medium. Surprisingly, in media with poorer carbon sources, the same StrR mutants grow faster than wild type. This improvement reflects a failure of these StrR mutants to induce the stress-inducible sigma factor RpoS (sigmaS), a key regulator of many stationary-phase and stress-inducible genes. On poorer carbon sources, wild-type cells induce sigmaS, which retards growth. By not inducing sigmaS, StrR mutants escape this self-imposed inhibition. Consistent with this interpretation, the StrR mutant loses its advantage over wild type when both strains lack an RpoS (sigmaS) gene. Failure to induce sigmaS produced the following side effects: (1) impaired induction of several stress-inducible genes, (2) reduced tolerance to thermal stress, and (3) reduced translational fidelity. These results suggest that RpoS may contribute to long-term cell survival, while actually limiting short-term growth rate under restrictive growth conditions. Accordingly, the StrR mutant avoids short-term growth limitation but is sensitized to other stresses. These results highlight the importance of measuring fitness costs under multiple experimental conditions not only to acquire a more relevant estimate of fitness, but also to reveal novel physiological weaknesses exploitable for drug development.
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ABSTRACT: RpoS is a major regulator of genes required for adaptation to stationary phase in E. coli. However, the exponential phase expression of some genes is affected by rpoS mutation, suggesting RpoS may also have an important physiological role in growing cells. To test this hypothesis, we examined the regulatory role of RpoS in exponential phase using both genomic and biochemical approaches. Microarray expression data revealed that, in the rpoS mutant, the expression of 268 genes was attenuated while the expression of 24 genes was enhanced. Genes responsible for carbon source transport (the mal operon for maltose), protein folding (dnaK and mopAB), and iron acquisition (fepBD, entCBA, fecI, and exbBD) were positively controlled by RpoS. The importance of RpoS-mediated control of iron acquisition was confirmed by cellular metal analysis which revealed that the intracellular iron content of wild type cells was two-fold higher than in rpoS mutant cells. Surprisingly, many previously identified RpoS stationary-phase dependent genes were not controlled by RpoS in exponential phase and several genes were RpoS-regulated only in exponential phase, suggesting the involvement of other regulators. The expression of RpoS-dependent genes osmY, tnaA and malK was controlled by Crl, a transcriptional regulator that modulates RpoS activity. In summary, the identification of a group of exponential phase genes controlled by RpoS reveals a novel aspect of RpoS function.Molecular and General Genetics 04/2008; 279(3):267-77. · 2.63 Impact Factor