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Measuring Drug-Induced Changes in Metabolite Populations of Live Bacteria: Real Time Analysis by Raman Spectroscopy

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posted on 2018-05-24, 00:00 authored by Paul R. Carey, Grant R. Whitmer, Michael J. Yoon, Michael N. Lombardo, Marianne Pusztai-Carey, Hossein Heidari-Torkabadi, Tao Che
Raman difference spectroscopy is shown to provide a wealth of molecular detail on changes within bacterial cells caused by infusion of antibiotics or hydrogen peroxide. Escherichia coli strains paired with chloramphenicol, dihydrofolate reductase propargyl-based inhibitors, meropenem, or hydrogen peroxide provide details of the depletion of protein and nucleic acid populations in real time. Additionally, other reproducible Raman features appear and are attributed to changes in cell metabolite populations. An initial candidate for one of the metabolites involves population increases of citrate, an intermediate within the tricarboxyclic acid cycle. This is supported by the observation that a strain of E. coli without the ability to synthesize citrate, gltA, lacks an intense feature in the Raman difference spectrum that has been ascribed to citrate. The methodology for obtaining the Raman data involves infusing the drug into live cells, then washing, freezing, and finally lyophilizing the cells. The freeze-dried cells are then examined under a Raman microscope. The difference spectra [cells treated with drug] – [cells without treatment] are time-dependent and can yield population kinetics for intracellular species in vivo. There is a strong resemblance between the Raman difference spectra of E. coli cells treated with meropenem and those treated with hydrogen peroxide.

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