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Defying bacteriophages: Contrasting altruistic with individual-based resistance mechanisms in Escherichia coli


Refardt, Dominik; Kümmerli, Rolf (2013). Defying bacteriophages: Contrasting altruistic with individual-based resistance mechanisms in Escherichia coli. Communicative & Integrative Biology, 6(5):e25159.

Abstract

Adaptations by hosts in response to parasitism are generally believed to reduce the susceptibility of the adapted individual. However, recent work on Escherichia coli showed that bacteria can fight deadly phage attacks by committing altruistic suicide upon infection, in order to prevent parasite transmission to nearby relatives. Here, we compare the efficiency of suicidal host defense with individual-based resistance. We show that in unstructured environments suicidal host defense is futile since suicide cannot preferentially protect relatives, whereas individual-based resistance is highly efficient in defying phages. In contrast, we found that in structured environments suicidal host defense and individual-based resistance were both efficient in withstanding phages, with the latter type performing slightly better. We propose that the putative lower efficiency of suicidal host defense might be compensated by the fact that suicidal systems usually do not bear pleiotropic costs of resistance, as it is usually the case for individual-based resistance mechanisms.

Abstract

Adaptations by hosts in response to parasitism are generally believed to reduce the susceptibility of the adapted individual. However, recent work on Escherichia coli showed that bacteria can fight deadly phage attacks by committing altruistic suicide upon infection, in order to prevent parasite transmission to nearby relatives. Here, we compare the efficiency of suicidal host defense with individual-based resistance. We show that in unstructured environments suicidal host defense is futile since suicide cannot preferentially protect relatives, whereas individual-based resistance is highly efficient in defying phages. In contrast, we found that in structured environments suicidal host defense and individual-based resistance were both efficient in withstanding phages, with the latter type performing slightly better. We propose that the putative lower efficiency of suicidal host defense might be compensated by the fact that suicidal systems usually do not bear pleiotropic costs of resistance, as it is usually the case for individual-based resistance mechanisms.

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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)
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:03 Jan 2014 10:49
Last Modified:07 Aug 2017 06:58
Publisher:Landes Bioscience
ISSN:1942-0889
Funders:SNSF
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4161/cib.25159
PubMed ID:24255741

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