Persister Cells

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Persister cells are bacterial cells that survive killing by antibiotics that block synthesis of peptidoglycan [1] or DNA [2], but remain sensitive to that antibiotic upon being regrown and give rise to the same small fraction of persisters. Persister cells were first described by Bigger in 1944 [1] who found that there was always a small number of survivors (10-5 to 10-6) when cultures of Staphylococcus were treated with penicillin.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bigger, J.W. (1944) Treatment of staphylococcal infections with penicillin. Lancet ii:497-500. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "BiggerJW1944" defined multiple times with different content
  2. Scherrer, R & Moyed, HS (1988) Conditional impairment of cell division and altered lethality in hipA mutants of Escherichia coli K-12. J. Bacteriol. 170 3321-6 PubMed