Bacteria can evade antibiotics by acquiring resistance genes, as well as switching to a non-growing dormant state without accompanying genetic modification. Bacteria in this quiescent state are called persisters, and this non-inheritable ability to withstand multiple antibiotics is referred to as antibiotic tolerance. Although all bacteria are considered to be able to form antibiotic-tolerant persisters, the antibiotic tolerance of extremophilic bacteria is poorly understood. Previously, we identified the psychrotolerant bacterium Pseudomonas sp. B14-6 from the glacier foreland of Midtre Lovénbreen in High Arctic Svalbard. Herein, we investigated the resistance and tolerance of Pseudomonas sp. B14-6 against aminoglycosides at various temperatures. This bacterium was resistant to streptomycin and susceptible to apramycin, gentamicin, kanamycin, and tobramycin. The two putative aminoglycoside phosphotransferase genes aph1 and aph2 were the most likely contributors to streptomycin resistance. Notably, unlike the mesophilic Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14, this cold-adapted bacterium demonstrated reduced susceptibility to all tested aminoglycosides in a temperature-dependent manner. Pseudomonas sp. B14-6 at a lower temperature formed the persister cells that shows tolerance to the 100-fold minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of gentamicin, as well as the partially tolerant cells that withstand 25-fold MIC gentamicin. The temperature-dependent gentamicin tolerance appears to result from reduced metabolic activity. Lastly, the partially tolerant Pseudomonas sp. B14-6 cells could slowly proliferate under the bactericidal concentrations of aminoglycosides. Our results demonstrate that Pseudomonas sp. B14-6 has a characteristic ability to form cells with a range of tolerance, which appears to be inversely proportional to its growth rate.
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- antibiotic resistance
- antibiotic tolerance
- psychrotolerant bacteria