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Habitat structure and the evolution of diffusible siderophores in bacteria


Kümmerli, Rolf; Schiessl, Konstanze T; Waldvogel, Tuija; McNeill, Kristopher; Ackermann, Martin (2014). Habitat structure and the evolution of diffusible siderophores in bacteria. Ecology Letters, 17(12):1536-1544.

Abstract

Bacteria typically rely on secreted metabolites, potentially shareable at the community level, to scavenge resources from the environment. The evolution of diffusible, shareable metabolites is, however, difficult to explain because molecules can get lost, or be exploited by cheating mutants. A key question is whether natural selection can act on molecule structure to control loss and shareability. We tested this possibility by collating information on diffusivity properties of 189 secreted iron-scavenging siderophores and the natural habitats occupied by the siderophore-pro-ducing species. In line with evolutionary theory, we found that highly diffusible siderophores have preferentially evolved in species living in structured habitats, such as soil and hosts, because struc-turing can keep producers and their shareable goods together. Poorly diffusible siderophores, meanwhile, have preferentially evolved in species living in unstructured habitats, such as seawater, indicating that these metabolites are less shareable and more likely provide direct benefits to the producers.

Bacteria typically rely on secreted metabolites, potentially shareable at the community level, to scavenge resources from the environment. The evolution of diffusible, shareable metabolites is, however, difficult to explain because molecules can get lost, or be exploited by cheating mutants. A key question is whether natural selection can act on molecule structure to control loss and shareability. We tested this possibility by collating information on diffusivity properties of 189 secreted iron-scavenging siderophores and the natural habitats occupied by the siderophore-pro-ducing species. In line with evolutionary theory, we found that highly diffusible siderophores have preferentially evolved in species living in structured habitats, such as soil and hosts, because struc-turing can keep producers and their shareable goods together. Poorly diffusible siderophores, meanwhile, have preferentially evolved in species living in unstructured habitats, such as seawater, indicating that these metabolites are less shareable and more likely provide direct benefits to the producers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Uncontrolled Keywords:comparative analysis, diffusion, dispersal, microbes, public goods, secondary metabolites, spatial structure
Language:English
Date:December 2014
Deposited On:05 Feb 2015 15:33
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:48
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1461-023X
Funders:SNSF
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12371
Official URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/ele.12371/asset/ele12371.pdf?v=1&t=i4po6any&s=99b06b4564422b87e5c56815ac98676c1c4f621b

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