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Cell & Molecular Biology


In the present study, it is shown that although Escherichia coli CFT073, a human uropathogenic (UPEC) strain, grows in liquid glucose M9 minimal medium, it fails to grow on glucose M9 minimal medium agar plates seeded with ≤106 CFU. The cells on glucose plates appear to be in a “quiescent” state that can be prevented by various combinations of lysine, methionine, and tyrosine. Moreover, the quiescent state is characteristic of ~80% of E. coli phylogenetic group B2 multilocus sequence type 73 strains, as well as 22.5% of randomly selected UPEC strains isolated from community-acquired urinary tract infections in Denmark. In addition, E. coli CFT073 quiescence is not limited to glucose but occurs on agar plates containing a number of other sugars and acetate as sole carbon sources. It is also shown that a number of E. coliCFT073 mini-Tn5 metabolic mutants (gnd, gdhA, pykF, sdhA, and zwf) are nonquiescent on glucose M9 minimal agar plates and that quiescence requires a complete oxidative tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. In addition, evidence is presented that, although E. coli CFT073 quiescence and persistence in the presence of ampicillin are alike in that both require a complete oxidative TCA cycle and each can be prevented by amino acids, E. coli CFT073 quiescence occurs in the presence or absence of a functional rpoS gene, whereas maximal persistence requires a nonfunctional rpoS. Our results suggest that interventions targeting specific central metabolic pathways may mitigate UPEC infections by interfering with quiescence and persistence.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Mary P. Leatham-Jensen, Matthew E. Mokszycki, Jodi L. Camberg, Gonqin Sun and Paul S. Cohen are affiliated with the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology.

David C. Rowley and Robert Deering are affiliated with the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.