Jun 29, 2016

The population dynamics of a bacterial pathogen after host re-infection affects the founding population size

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Gaofei JiangNemo Peeters


In natura, many organisms face multiple infections by pathogens. The ability of a pathogen to re-infect an already-infected host affects the genetic makeup of the pathogen population at the end of the infectious cycle. Despite the likely prevalence of this situation, the population dynamics of pathogens during multiple infections over time is still poorly understood. Here we combined theoretical and empirical investigations of the founding population size, a critical driver of the evolution of pathogens, in a setting allowing for multiple and subsequent re-infections. Using the soil-borne bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum and tomato as its host, we first assessed the strength of the host infection bottleneck, and showed that both the host barrier and the immune system work additively to constrain the infection. Then, by increasing the temperature, we experimentally demonstrated that the increased pathogen proliferation within the host reduces the contribution of subsequent re-infection leading to a lower founding population size. Our study highlights the importance of within-host pathogen proliferation in determining founding population size and thus bacterial genetic diversity during epidemics for pathosystems where mu...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Pathogenic Organism
Cell Proliferation
Microbiota (Procedure)
Population Group

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