Most bacteria spend the majority of their time in prolonged states of very low metabolic activity and little or no growth, in which electron donors, electron acceptors and/or nutrients are limited, but cells are poised to undergo rapid division cycles when resources become available. These non-growing states are far less studied than other growth states, which leaves many questions regarding basic bacterial physiology unanswered. In this Review, we discuss findings from a small but diverse set of systems that have been used to investigate how growth-arrested bacteria adjust metabolism, regulate transcription and translation, and maintain their chromosomes. We highlight major questions that remain to be addressed, and suggest that progress in answering them will be aided by recent methodological advances and by dialectic between environmental and molecular microbiology perspectives.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)