Indirect Fitness Benefits Enable the Spread of Host Genes Promoting Costly Transfer of Beneficial Plasmids

PLoS Biology
Tatiana DimitriuFrançois Taddei

Abstract

Bacterial genes that confer crucial phenotypes, such as antibiotic resistance, can spread horizontally by residing on mobile genetic elements (MGEs). Although many mobile genes provide strong benefits to their hosts, the fitness consequences of the process of transfer itself are less clear. In previous studies, transfer has been interpreted as a parasitic trait of the MGEs because of its costs to the host but also as a trait benefiting host populations through the sharing of a common gene pool. Here, we show that costly donation is an altruistic act when it spreads beneficial MGEs favoured when it increases the inclusive fitness of donor ability alleles. We show mathematically that donor ability can be selected when relatedness at the locus modulating transfer is sufficiently high between donor and recipients, ensuring high frequency of transfer between cells sharing donor alleles. We further experimentally demonstrate that either population structure or discrimination in transfer can increase relatedness to a level selecting for chromosomal transfer alleles. Both mechanisms are likely to occur in natural environments. The simple process of strong dilution can create sufficient population structure to select for donor ability. ...Continue Reading

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Citations

Apr 10, 2017·Current Opinion in Microbiology·Joshua P Ramsay, Neville Firth
Jun 27, 2019·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Tatiana DimitriuBen Raymond
Jul 28, 2017·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Siobhán O'BrienAngus Buckling
Oct 31, 2019·Genes·Krzysztof RomaniukLukasz Dziewit

Related Concepts

Bacterial Conjugation
Alkalescens-Dispar Group
Genes, Bacterial
Genetics, Population
Episomes
Selection, Genetic
Evolution, Molecular
Genes, Jumping
Recombination, Interspecies
Antibiotic Resistance, Bacterial

Related Feeds

Antimicrobial Resistance (ASM)

Antimicrobial resistance poses a significant threat to the continued successful use of antimicrobial agents for the treatment of bacterial infections.

Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance poses a significant threat to the continued successful use of antimicrobial agents for the treatment of bacterial infections.

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