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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)
Microbes are predominantly found in surface-attached and spatially structured polymicrobial communities. Within these communities, microbial cells excrete a wide range of metabolites, setting the stage for interspecific metabolic interactions. The links, however, between metabolic and ecological interactions (functional relationships), and species spatial(More)
  • Francesco Nazzi, Sam P. Brown, Desiderato Annoscia, Fabio Del Piccolo, Gennaro Di Prisco, Paola Varricchio +4 others
  • 2012
The health of the honeybee and, indirectly, global crop production are threatened by several biotic and abiotic factors, which play a poorly defined role in the induction of widespread colony losses. Recent descriptive studies suggest that colony losses are often related to the interaction between pathogens and other stress factors, including parasites.(More)
Standard virulence evolution theory assumes that virulence factors are maintained because they aid parasitic exploitation, increasing growth within and/or transmission between hosts. An increasing number of studies now demonstrate that many opportunistic pathogens (OPs) do not conform to these assumptions, with virulence factors maintained instead because(More)
Medical science is typically pitted against the evolutionary forces acting upon infective populations of bacteria. As an alternative strategy, we could exploit our growing understanding of population dynamics of social traits in bacteria to help treat bacterial disease. In particular, population dynamics of social traits could be exploited to introduce less(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)
An understanding of within-host dynamics of pathogen interactions with eukaryotic cells can shape the development of effective preventive measures and drug regimes. Such investigations have been hampered by the difficulty of identifying and observing directly, within live tissues, the multiple key variables that underlay infection processes. Fluorescence(More)
The high levels of intelligence seen in humans, other primates, certain cetaceans and birds remain a major puzzle for evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and psychologists. It has long been held that social interactions provide the selection pressures necessary for the evolution of advanced cognitive abilities (the 'social intelligence hypothesis'),(More)
Invading an occupied niche is a formidable ecological challenge, and one of particular human importance in the context of food-borne microbial pathogens. We discuss distinct categories of invader-triggered environmental change that facilitate invasion by emptying their niche of competitors. Evidence is reviewed that gut bacteria use such strategies to(More)
While the conditions that favour the maintenance of cooperation have been extensively investigated, the significance of non-social selection pressures on social behaviours has received little attention. In the absence of non-social selection pressures, patches of cooperators are vulnerable to invasion by cheats. However, we show both theoretically, and(More)