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Using experimental evolution to explore natural patterns between bacterial motility and resistance to bacteriophages

Koskella, B., Taylor, T. B., Bates, J. and Buckling, A. (2011) Using experimental evolution to explore natural patterns between bacterial motility and resistance to bacteriophages. ISME Journal, 5 (11). pp. 1809-1817. ISSN 1751-7370

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2011.47

Abstract/Summary

Resistance of bacteria to phages may be gained by alteration of surface proteins to which phages bind, a mechanism that is likely to be costly as these molecules typically have critical functions such as movement or nutrient uptake. To address this potential trade-off, we combine a systematic study of natural bacteria and phage populations with an experimental evolution approach. We compare motility, growth rate and susceptibility to local phages for 80 bacteria isolated from horse chestnut leaves and, contrary to expectation, find no negative association between resistance to phages and bacterial motility or growth rate. However, because correlational patterns (and their absence) are open to numerous interpretations, we test for any causal association between resistance to phages and bacterial motility using experimental evolution of a subset of bacteria in both the presence and absence of naturally associated phages. Again, we find no clear link between the acquisition of resistance and bacterial motility, suggesting that for these natural bacterial populations, phage-mediated selection is unlikely to shape bacterial motility, a key fitness trait for many bacteria in the phyllosphere. The agreement between the observed natural pattern and the experimental evolution results presented here demonstrates the power of this combined approach for testing evolutionary trade-offs.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:39013
Uncontrolled Keywords:coevolution; dispersal; host–parasite; trade-off; cost of resistance
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group

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