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β-lactam antibiotics promote bacterial mutagenesis via an RpoS-mediated reduction in replication fidelity

Abstract : Regardless of their targets and modes of action, subinhibitory concentrations of antibiotics can have an impact on cell physiology and trigger a large variety of cellular responses in different bacterial species. Subinhibitory concentrations of β-lactam antibiotics cause reactive oxygen species production and induce PolIV-dependent mutagenesis in Escherichia coli. Here we show that subinhibitory concentrations of β-lactam antibiotics induce the RpoS regulon. RpoS regulon induction is required for PolIV-dependent mutagenesis because it diminishes the control of DNA-replication fidelity by depleting MutS in E. coli, Vibrio cholerae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We also show that in E. coli, the reduction in mismatch-repair activity is mediated by SdsR, the RpoS-controlled small RNA. In summary, we show that mutagenesis induced by subinhibitory concentrations of antibiotics is a genetically controlled process. Because this mutagenesis can generate mutations conferring antibiotic resistance, it should be taken into consideration for the development of more efficient antimicrobial therapeutic strategies.
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A. Gutierrez, L. Laureti, S. Crussard, H. Abida, A. Rodríguez-Rojas, et al.. β-lactam antibiotics promote bacterial mutagenesis via an RpoS-mediated reduction in replication fidelity. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2013, 4, pp.1610. ⟨10.1038/ncomms2607⟩. ⟨pasteur-01691736⟩

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