Articles by Irit Levin-Reisman in JoVE
Other articles by Irit Levin-Reisman on PubMed
Regulation of Phenotypic Variability by a Threshold-based Mechanism Underlies Bacterial Persistence Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Jul, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20616060 In the face of antibiotics, bacterial populations avoid extinction by harboring a subpopulation of dormant cells that are largely drug insensitive. This phenomenon, termed "persistence," is a major obstacle for the treatment of a number of infectious diseases. The mechanism that generates both actively growing as well as dormant cells within a genetically identical population is unknown. We present a detailed study of the toxin-antitoxin module implicated in antibiotic persistence of Escherichia coli. We find that bacterial cells become dormant if the toxin level is higher than a threshold, and that the amount by which the threshold is exceeded determines the duration of dormancy. Fluctuations in toxin levels above and below the threshold result in coexistence of dormant and growing cells. We conclude that toxin-antitoxin modules in general represent a mixed network motif that can serve to produce a subpopulation of dormant cells and to supply a mechanism for regulating the frequency and duration of growth arrest. Toxin-antitoxin modules thus provide a natural molecular design for implementing a bet-hedging strategy.
Automated Imaging with ScanLag Reveals Previously Undetectable Bacterial Growth Phenotypes Nature Methods. Sep, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20676109 We developed an automated system, ScanLag, that measures in parallel the delay in growth (lag time) and growth rate of thousands of cells. Using ScanLag, we detected small subpopulations of bacteria with dramatically increased lag time upon starvation. By screening a library of Escherichia coli deletion mutants, we achieved two-dimensional mapping of growth characteristics, which showed that ScanLag enables multidimensional screens for quantitative characterization and identification of rare phenotypic variants.