Entropy of a bacterial stress response is a generalizable predictor for fitness and antibiotic sensitivity
Current approaches explore bacterial genes that change transcriptionally upon stress exposure as diagnostics to predict antibiotic sensitivity. However, transcriptional changes are often specific to a species or antibiotic, limiting implementation to known settings only. While a generalizable approach, predicting bacterial fitness independent of strain, species or type of stress, would eliminate such limitations, it is unclear whether a stress-response can be universally captured. By generating
... ured. By generating a multi-stress and species RNA-Seq and experimental evolution dataset, we highlight the strengths and limitations of existing gene-panel based methods. Subsequently, we build a generalizable method around the observation that global transcriptional disorder seems to be a common, low-fitness, stress response. We quantify this disorder using entropy, which is a specific measure of randomness, and find that in low fitness cases increasing entropy and transcriptional disorder results from a loss of regulatory gene-dependencies. Using entropy as a single feature, we show that fitness and quantitative antibiotic sensitivity predictions can be made that generalize well beyond training data. Furthermore, we validate entropy-based predictions in 7 species under antibiotic and non-antibiotic conditions. By demonstrating the feasibility of universal predictions of bacterial fitness, this work establishes the fundamentals for potentially new approaches in infectious disease diagnostics.