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In macroscopic organisms, aging is often obvious; in single-celled organisms, where there is the greatest potential to identify the molecular mechanisms involved, identifying and quantifying aging is harder. The primary results in this area have come from organisms that share the traits of a visibly asymmetric division and an identifiable juvenile phase. As(More)
Because most newly arising mutations are neutral or deleterious, it has been argued that the mutation rate has evolved to be as low as possible, limited only by the cost of error-avoidance and error-correction mechanisms. But up to one per cent of natural bacterial isolates are 'mutator' clones that have high mutation rates. We consider here whether high(More)
BACKGROUND Microbes engage in a remarkable array of cooperative behaviors, secreting shared proteins that are essential for foraging, shelter, microbial warfare, and virulence. These proteins are costly, rendering populations of cooperators vulnerable to exploitation by nonproducing cheaters arising by gene loss or migration. In such conditions, how can(More)
Mutation and subsequent recombination events create genetic diversity, which is subjected to natural selection. Bacterial mismatch repair (MMR) deficient mutants, exhibiting high mutation and homologous recombination rates, are frequently found in natural populations. Therefore, we have explored the possibility that MMR deficiency emerging in nature has(More)
Life history theory accounts for variations in many traits involved in the reproduction and survival of living organisms, by determining the constraints leading to trade-offs among these different traits. The main life history traits of phages-viruses that infect bacteria-are the multiplication rate in the host, the survivorship of virions in the external(More)
The evolutionary significance of stress-induced mutagenesis was evaluated by studying mutagenesis in aging colonies (MAC) of Escherichia coli natural isolates. A large fraction of isolates exhibited a strong MAC, and the high MAC variability reflected the diversity of selective pressures in ecological niches. MAC depends on starvation, oxygen, and RpoS and(More)
The lactose operon regulation in Escherichia coli is a primary model of phenotypic switching, reminiscent of cell fate determination in higher organisms. Under conditions of bistability, an isogenic cell population partitions into two subpopulations, with the operon's genes turned on or remaining off. It is generally hypothesized that the final state of a(More)
By using a panel of 603 commensal and pathogenic Escherichia coli and Shigella isolates, we showed that mutation rates of strains vary considerably among different ecotypes. Uropathogenic strains had the highest frequency of mutators, while strains from patients with bacteremia had the lowest mutation rates. No correlation between the mutation rates and(More)
Locally adapted residents present a formidable barrier to invasion . One solution for invaders is to kill residents . Here, we explore the comparative ecological dynamics of two distinct microbial mechanisms of killing competitors, via the release of chemicals (e.g., bacteriocins ) and via the release of parasites (e.g., temperate phage ). We compared the(More)