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Special Issue "Bacterial Adaptation Strategies to the Host: From Acute, Aggressive to Chronic, Dormant Infections"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Bettina Löffler
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Medical Microbiology, Jena University Hospital, Am Klinikum 1, D-07747 Jena, Germany
Interests: toxin-mediated effects in bacterial infections and viral-bacterial co-infections; persistence strategies of pathogens; infection models and testing of therapy strategies; diagnostic microbiology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Host-pathogen interaction is highly dynamic and can turn in aggressive, tissue destructive diseases or only harmless colonization. In this interaction, the microbes employ several strategies to attack the host and establish an infection and at the same time to survive within hosts and enable their long term survival. The microbial flexibility to be adapted to several environments is directly linked to bacterial fitness. To establish an infection microbes produce a lot of virulence factors to damage host cells, to enter deep tissue structures and get nutrients for their growth. However, this aggressive microbial behaviour awake the immune host response which try to eliminate the microbial population. During the infection process, the microbes can switch to a dormant or metabolically less-active phenotypes to enhance their survival. Thus, the chronic phase of infection is defined as an intrinsic relationship between microbes and host where the microbe have a niche to be hidden from antimicrobials and immune response.

Bacteria turn to dormant or sleeping bacterial phenotypes when the nutrients are limited and allow them to save energy in this hostile environment. Sleeping bacterial phenotypes represent a big challenge to physicians because they are tolerant to several antimicrobials that require actively dividing bacterial cells. Furthermore, dormant bacteria can turn to active and aggressive phenotype when new nutrient sources are available, representing a potential risk for developing a new infection.

This switch from aggressive to dormant bacterial phenotype depends on the expression of virulence factors driven by a fine regulatory network and plays an important role in the progress of infection from acute to chronic phase.

This special issue is dedicated to understand the mechanisms that enable bacteria to turn from aggressive to dormant phenotypes that influence the outcome of the infection. Reviews and research articles focusing on understanding the interchange between active/aggressive to chronic dormant bacterial phenotype by multiple approaches that include molecular and cell biology tools, advanced imaging tools and -omics techniques are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Bettina Löffler
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • dormancy
  • phenotype switching
  • bacterial stress
  • survival strategies
  • persisters
  • resuscitation
  • starvation
  • cell cycle arrest
  • ATP homeostasis

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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