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1.  Siderophores from Neighboring Organisms Promote the Growth of Uncultured Bacteria 
Chemistry & biology  2010;17(3):254-264.
Summary
The majority of bacterial species do not grow on synthetic media. Many non-growers require growth factors from other bacteria, but the nature of these compounds is largely unknown. We show here that previously uncultured isolates from marine sediment biofilm grow on a Petri dish in the presence of cultured organisms from the same environment. The growth factors produced by one cultured helper strain were identified as new acyl-desferrioxamine siderophores. A panel of previously uncultured isolates exhibited a range of siderophore promiscuity for growth promotion. This siderophore-based approach has enabled the culturing of organisms only distantly related to previously cultured microbes. The lack of growth in the lab for many strains from this habitat stems from an inability to autonomously produce siderophores, and the resulting chemical dependence on other microorganisms regulates community establishment in the environment.
doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2010.02.010
PMCID: PMC2895992  PMID: 20338517
2.  Kinase Activity of Overexpressed HipA Is Required for Growth Arrest and Multidrug Tolerance in Escherichia coli▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(24):8360-8367.
Overexpression of the HipA protein of the HipBA toxin/antitoxin module leads to multidrug tolerance in Escherichia coli. HipA is a “toxin” that causes reversible dormancy, whereas HipB is an antitoxin that binds HipA and acts as a transcriptional repressor of the hipBA operon. Comparative sequence analysis shows that HipA is a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3/4-kinase superfamily. The kinase activity of HipA was examined. HipA was autophosphorylated in the presence of ATP in vitro, and the purified protein appeared to carry a single phosphate group on serine 150. Thus, HipA is a serine kinase that is at least partially phosphorylated in vivo. Overexpression of HipA caused inhibition of cell growth and increase in persister formation. Replacing conserved aspartate 309 in the conserved kinase active site or aspartate 332 in the Mg2+-binding site with glutamine produced mutant proteins that lost the ability to stop cellular growth upon overexpression. Replacing serine 150 with alanine yielded a similarly inactive protein. The mutant proteins were then examined for their ability to increase antibiotic tolerance. Cells overexpressing wild-type HipA were highly tolerant to cefotaxime, a cell wall synthesis inhibitor, to ofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone inhibitor of DNA gyrase, and to topoisomerase IV and were almost completely resistant to killing by mitomycin C, which forms DNA adducts. The mutant proteins did not protect cells from cefotaxime or ofloxacin and had an impaired ability to protect from mitomycin C. Taken together, these results suggest that the protein kinase activity of HipA is essential for persister formation.
doi:10.1128/JB.01237-06
PMCID: PMC1698217  PMID: 17041039

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