DOI: 10.1101/457721Oct 31, 2018Paper

Efficient assembly and long-term stability of defensive microbiomes via private resources and community bistability

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Gergely BozaIstvan Scheuring


Understanding the mechanisms promoting the assembly and maintenance of host-beneficial microbiomes is an open problem. An increasing amount of evidence supports the idea that animal and plant hosts can use 'private resources' and the ecological phenomenon known as 'community bistability' to favour some microbial strains over others. We briefly review empirical evidence showing that hosts can: (i) protect the growth of beneficial strains in an isolated habitat, (ii) use antibiotic compounds to suppress non-beneficial, competitor strains, and (iii) provide resources (for a limited time) that only beneficial strains are able to translate into an increased rate of growth, reproduction, or antibiotic production. We then demonstrate in a spatially explicit, individual-based model that these three mechanisms act similarly by selectively promoting the initial proliferation of preferred strains, that is, by acting as a private resource. By explicitly modelling localized microbial interactions and diffusion dynamics, we further show that an intermediate level of antibiotic diffusion is the most efficient mechanism in promoting preferred strains and that that there is a wide range of conditions under which hosts can promote the assembly o...Continue Reading

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