Filamentous phages reduce bacterial growth in low salinities

Goehlich, Henry, Roth, Olivia and Wendling, Carolin C. (2019) Filamentous phages reduce bacterial growth in low salinities Royal Society Open Science, 6 (12). Art.Nr. 191669. DOI 10.1098/rsos.191669.

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Being non-lytic, filamentous phages can replicate at high frequencies and often carry virulence factors, which are important in the evolution and emergence of novel pathogens. However, their net effect on bacterial fitness remains unknown. To understand the ecology and evolution between filamentous phages and their hosts, it is important to assess (i) fitness effects of filamentous phages on their hosts and (ii) how these effects depend on the environment. To determine how the net effect on bacterial fitness by filamentous phages changes across environments, we constructed phage–bacteria infection networks at ambient 15 practical salinity units (PSU) and stressful salinities (11 and 7 PSU) using the marine bacterium, Vibrio alginolyticus and its derived filamentous phages as model system. We observed no significant difference in network structure at 15 and 11 PSU. However, at 7 PSU phages significantly reduced bacterial growth changing network structure. This pattern was mainly driven by a significant increase in bacterial susceptibility. Our findings suggest that filamentous phages decrease bacterial growth, an indirect measure of fitness in stressful environmental conditions, which might impact bacterial communities, alter horizontal gene transfer events and possibly favour the emergence of novel pathogens in environmental Vibrios.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: phage–bacteria infection network, Vibrio, filamentous phages, salinity changes
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Marine Evolutionary Ecology
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1098/rsos.191669
ISSN: 2054-5703
Projects: SPP 1819
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2019 12:48
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2019 12:48

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