Bacteriostatic cells instead of bacteriostatic antibiotics?

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Fernando Baquero, Jeronimo Rodríguez-Beltrán, Bruce R Levin


This year we commemorate the centennial of the birth of the mature concept of bacteriostasis by John W. Churchman at Cornell University Medical School. The term bacteriostasis has primarily been applied to antibiotics (bacteriostatic antibiotics). In this Opinion paper, we are revisiting this concept by suggesting that bacteriostatic antibiotics are drugs that induce bacteria to become bacteriostatic. Cells that are unable to multiply, thereby preventing the antibiotic from exerting major lethal effects on them, are a variant (“different”) type of cells, bacteriostatic cells. Note that the term “bacteriostasis” should not be associated only with antimicrobials, but with many stressful conditions. In that respect, the drug promotion of bacteriostasis might resemble other types of stress-induced cellular differentiation, such as sporulation, in which spores can be considered “bacteriostatic cells” or perhaps as persister bacteria, which can become “normal cells” again when the stressful conditions have abated.



Life Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences


Bacteriostatic antibiotics, bacteriostatic cells, antibiotic mode of action


Published: 2023-10-03 17:31

Last Updated: 2023-10-03 21:31


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