Apr 6, 2020

Antibiotics shift the temperature response curve of Escherichia coli growth

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Mauricio Cruz-LoyaP. Yeh


Temperature variation--through time and across climatic gradients--affects individuals, populations, and communities. Yet how the thermal response of biological systems is altered by environmental stressors is poorly understood. Here we quantify two key features--optimal temperature and temperature breadth--to investigate how temperature responses vary in the presence of antibiotics. We use high-throughput screening to measure growth of Escherichia coli under single and pairwise combinations of 12 antibiotics across seven temperatures that range from 22{degrees}C to 46{degrees}C. We find that antibiotic stress often results in considerable changes in the optimal temperature for growth and a narrower temperature breadth. The direction of the optimal temperature shifts can be explained by the similarities between antibiotic-induced and temperature-induced damage to the physiology of the bacterium. We also find that the effects of pairs of stressors in the temperature response can often be explained by just one antibiotic out of the pair. Our study has implications for a general understanding of how ecological systems adapt and evolve to environmental changes.

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