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Positive linkage between bacterial social traits reveals that homogeneous rather than specialised behavioral repertoires prevail in natural Pseudomonas communities


Kramer, Jos; López Carrasco, Miguel Ángel; Kümmerli, Rolf (2020). Positive linkage between bacterial social traits reveals that homogeneous rather than specialised behavioral repertoires prevail in natural Pseudomonas communities. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 96(1):fiz185.

Abstract

Bacteria frequently cooperate by sharing secreted metabolites such as enzymes and siderophores. The expression of such ‘public good’ traits can be interdependent, and studies on laboratory systems have shown that trait linkage affects eco-evolutionary dynamics within bacterial communities. Here, we examine whether linkage among social traits occurs in natural habitats by examining investment levels and correlations between five public goods (biosurfactants, biofilm components, proteases, pyoverdines and toxic compounds) in 315 Pseudomonas isolates from soil and freshwater communities. Our phenotypic assays revealed that (i) social trait expression profiles varied dramatically; (ii) correlations between traits were frequent, exclusively positive and sometimes habitat-specific; and (iii) heterogeneous (specialised) trait repertoires were rarer than homogeneous (unspecialised) repertoires. Our results show that most isolates lie on a continuum between a ‘social’ type producing multiple public goods, and an ‘asocial’ type showing low investment into social traits. This segregation could reflect local adaptation to different microhabitats, or emerge from interactions between different social strategies. In the latter case, our findings suggest that the scope for competition among unspecialised isolates exceeds the scope for mutualistic exchange of different public goods between specialised isolates. Overall, our results indicate that complex interdependencies among social traits shape microbial lifestyles in nature.

Abstract

Bacteria frequently cooperate by sharing secreted metabolites such as enzymes and siderophores. The expression of such ‘public good’ traits can be interdependent, and studies on laboratory systems have shown that trait linkage affects eco-evolutionary dynamics within bacterial communities. Here, we examine whether linkage among social traits occurs in natural habitats by examining investment levels and correlations between five public goods (biosurfactants, biofilm components, proteases, pyoverdines and toxic compounds) in 315 Pseudomonas isolates from soil and freshwater communities. Our phenotypic assays revealed that (i) social trait expression profiles varied dramatically; (ii) correlations between traits were frequent, exclusively positive and sometimes habitat-specific; and (iii) heterogeneous (specialised) trait repertoires were rarer than homogeneous (unspecialised) repertoires. Our results show that most isolates lie on a continuum between a ‘social’ type producing multiple public goods, and an ‘asocial’ type showing low investment into social traits. This segregation could reflect local adaptation to different microhabitats, or emerge from interactions between different social strategies. In the latter case, our findings suggest that the scope for competition among unspecialised isolates exceeds the scope for mutualistic exchange of different public goods between specialised isolates. Overall, our results indicate that complex interdependencies among social traits shape microbial lifestyles in nature.

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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
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Quantitative Biomedicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Microbiology
Language:English
Date:1 January 2020
Deposited On:20 Jan 2020 10:41
Last Modified:20 Jan 2020 10:43
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0168-6496
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiz185
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_165835
  • : Project TitleCooperation and competition in bacteria: extension
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID681295
  • : Project TitleBactInd - Bacterial cooperation at the individual cell level

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