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Acetate and glycerol are not uniquely suited for the evolution of cross-feeding in E. coli


San Roman, Magdalena; Wagner, Andreas (2020). Acetate and glycerol are not uniquely suited for the evolution of cross-feeding in E. coli. PLoS Computational Biology, 16(11):e1008433.

Abstract

The evolution of cross-feeding among individuals of the same species can help generate genetic and phenotypic diversity even in completely homogeneous environments. Cross-feeding Escherichia coli strains, where one strain feeds on a carbon source excreted by another strain, rapidly emerge during experimental evolution in a chemically minimal environment containing glucose as the sole carbon source. Genome-scale metabolic modeling predicts that cross-feeding of 58 carbon sources can emerge in the same environment, but only cross-feeding of acetate and glycerol has been experimentally observed. Here we use metabolic modeling to ask whether acetate and glycerol cross-feeding are especially likely to evolve, perhaps because they require less metabolic change, and thus perhaps also less genetic change than other cross-feeding interactions. However, this is not the case. The minimally required metabolic changes required for acetate and glycerol cross feeding affect dozens of chemical reactions, multiple biochemical pathways, as well as multiple operons or regulons. The complexity of these changes is consistent with experimental observations, where cross-feeding strains harbor multiple mutations. The required metabolic changes are also no less complex than those observed for multiple other of the 56 cross feeding interactions we study. We discuss possible reasons why only two cross-feeding interactions have been discovered during experimental evolution and argue that multiple new cross-feeding interactions may await discovery.

Abstract

The evolution of cross-feeding among individuals of the same species can help generate genetic and phenotypic diversity even in completely homogeneous environments. Cross-feeding Escherichia coli strains, where one strain feeds on a carbon source excreted by another strain, rapidly emerge during experimental evolution in a chemically minimal environment containing glucose as the sole carbon source. Genome-scale metabolic modeling predicts that cross-feeding of 58 carbon sources can emerge in the same environment, but only cross-feeding of acetate and glycerol has been experimentally observed. Here we use metabolic modeling to ask whether acetate and glycerol cross-feeding are especially likely to evolve, perhaps because they require less metabolic change, and thus perhaps also less genetic change than other cross-feeding interactions. However, this is not the case. The minimally required metabolic changes required for acetate and glycerol cross feeding affect dozens of chemical reactions, multiple biochemical pathways, as well as multiple operons or regulons. The complexity of these changes is consistent with experimental observations, where cross-feeding strains harbor multiple mutations. The required metabolic changes are also no less complex than those observed for multiple other of the 56 cross feeding interactions we study. We discuss possible reasons why only two cross-feeding interactions have been discovered during experimental evolution and argue that multiple new cross-feeding interactions may await discovery.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Modeling and Simulation
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Life Sciences > Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > Genetics
Life Sciences > Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Physical Sciences > Computational Theory and Mathematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Modelling and Simulation, Computational Theory and Mathematics, Genetics, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Molecular Biology, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:30 November 2020
Deposited On:17 Feb 2021 09:07
Last Modified:01 Mar 2021 16:21
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1553-734X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008433
PubMed ID:33253183

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