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Polylysogeny magnifies competitiveness of a bacterial pathogen in vivo

Burns, N, James, C and Harrison, E 2014, 'Polylysogeny magnifies competitiveness of a bacterial pathogen in vivo' , Evolutionary applications .

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The rise of next generation sequencing is revealing a hidden diversity of temperate phages within the microbial community. While a handful of these phages have been well characterized, for the vast majority, the role of phage carriage, and especially multiple phage carriage, is poorly understood. The Liverpool Epidemic Strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an aggressive pathogen in Cystic Fibrosis lung infections that has recently been found to contain several unique prophages within its genome. Here we experimentally investigate the role of two of these phages in vivo, using an insect model of infection. We find that while no benefit is conferred by phage carriage in single bacterial infections, phages confer a large fitness advantage during mixed infections by mediating bacteria-bacteria competition. Differences between the two phages appeared to be associated with the rate at which the competitor acquired the phage, and therefore resistance. However the advantage was greatest in the polylysogen, carrying both phages. These finding suggest that the LES phages may play an important role in host invasions and more generally show that the carriage of multiple phages may itself be beneficial by hindering the spread of resistance in rival bacterial populations.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Evolutionary applications
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1752-4563
Related URLs:
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Depositing User: Dr Chloe James
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2015 18:09
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2016 18:18

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