Jun 30, 2007

Evolutionary adaptation to environmental pH in experimental lineages of Escherichia coli

Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Bradley S HughesAlbert F Bennett


This study uses the enteric bacterium Escherichia coli as an experimental system to examine evolutionary responses of bacteria to an environmental acidic-alkaline range between pH 5.3 and 7.8 (15-5000 nM [H(+)]). Our goal was both to test general hypotheses about adaptation to abiotic variables and to provide insights into how coliform organisms might respond to changing conditions inside and outside of hosts. Six replicate lines of E. coli evolved for 2000 generations at one of four different constant pH conditions: pH 5.3, 6.3, 7.0, or 7.8. Direct adaptation to the evolutionary environment, as well as correlated changes in other environments, was measured as a change in fitness relative to the ancestor in direct competition experiments. The pH 5.3 group had the highest fitness gains, with a highly significant increase of 20%. The pH 7.8 group had far less significant gains and much higher variance among its lines. Analysis of individual lines within these two groups revealed complex patterns of adaptation: all of the pH 5.3 lines exhibited trade-offs (reduced fitness in another environment), but only 33% of the pH 7.8 lines showed such trade-offs and one of the pH 7.8 lines demonstrated exaptation by improving fitness in the ...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Metabolic Process, Cellular
Alkalescens-Dispar Group
Pathogenic Organism
Coliform bacteria
Dibasic potassium phosphate

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