Apr 28, 2020

Selection for the bacterial capsule in the absence of biotic and abiotic aggressions depends on growth conditions

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. BuffetOlaya Rendueles

Abstract

Extracellular capsules are the outermost layer of some cells and are prevalent across Bacteria. They protect the cell against both abiotic and biotic stresses such as bacteriophages and the host immune system. Yet, it is unclear if capsules contribute to fitness in the absence of external aggressions, in spite of the cost of production. Here, we enquire if there are conditions favouring the presence of the capsule in Klebsiella, where it is a major virulence factor. We allowed independent populations of 19 different strains, representing six different capsule serotypes, to evolve for twenty generations in different growth media. We observed that capsules were maintained in nutrient-poor media but were selected against in nutrient-rich media. Competitions with capsule mutants in nine different strains showed that capsules provide ca 20% of fitness advantage in nutrient poor-conditions. This is not caused by differences in maximal growth rate, nor death rates. We showed that most capsulated populations reached higher yields. We further characterized how growth conditions affected the role of the capsule during pathogenensis and whether this is conserved across Klebsiella strains. Our data reveals that the environment and the sero...Continue Reading

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