The evolution of bacterial mutation rates under simultaneous selection by inter-specific and social parasitism.
Rodrigues, Antonio MM
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
The Royal Society
Copyright © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
Many bacterial populations harbour substantial numbers of hypermutable bacteria, in spite of hypermutation being associated with deleterious mutations. One reason for the persistence of hypermutators is the provision of novel mutations, enabling rapid adaptation to continually changing environments, for example coevolving virulent parasites. However, hypermutation also increases the rate at which intraspecific parasites (social cheats) are generated. Interspecific and intraspecific parasitism are therefore likely to impose conflicting selection pressure on mutation rate. Here, we combine theory and experiments to investigate how simultaneous selection from inter- and intraspecific parasitism affects the evolution of bacterial mutation rates in the plant-colonizing bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens. Both our theoretical and experimental results suggest that phage presence increases and selection for public goods cooperation (the production of iron-scavenging siderophores) decreases selection for mutator bacteria. Moreover, phages imposed a much greater growth cost than social cheating, and when both selection pressures were imposed simultaneously, selection for cooperation did not affect mutation rate evolution. Given the ubiquity of infectious phages in the natural environment and clinical infections, our results suggest that phages are likely to be more important than social interactions in determining mutation rate evolution.
University of Exeter
This is a post-print of an article published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Please cite the published article. O’Brien S, Rodrigues AMM, Buckling A. 2013 The evolution of bacterial mutation rates under simultaneous selection by interspecific and social parasitism. Proc R Soc B 280: 20131913. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.1913