Antibiotic-mediated antagonism leads to a bacterial game of rock–paper–scissors in vivo

  title={Antibiotic-mediated antagonism leads to a bacterial game of rock–paper–scissors in vivo},
  author={Benjamin Kirkup and Margaret Riley},
Colicins are narrow-spectrum antibiotics produced by and active against Escherichia coli and its close relatives. Colicin-producing strains cannot coexist with sensitive or resistant strains in a well-mixed culture, yet all three phenotypes are recovered in natural populations. Recent in vitro results conclude that strain diversity can be promoted by colicin production in a spatially structured, non-transitive interaction, as in the classic non-transitive model rock–paper–scissors (RPS). In the… 
Competitive interactions in Escherichia coli populations: the role of bacteriocins
In vitro, in vivo and in silico models used to study competitive interactions between bacteriocin producers suggested that localized interactions between producers of DNA-degrading toxins can lead to stable coexistence of heterogeneously distributed strains within the bacterial community and to the maintenance of diversity.
The Weak Shall Inherit: Bacteriocin-Mediated Interactions in Bacterial Populations
It is found that in well-mixed, unstructured environments where interactions are global, producers of weak bacteriOCins are selectively advantageous and outcompete producers of potent bacteriocins, while in spatially structured environments, each producer occupies its own territory, and competition takes place only in “no man’s lands” between territories, resulting in much slower dynamics.
Pseudomonas can survive bacteriocin-mediated killing via a persistence-like mechanism
This research provides important insight into how bacteria can escape the trap of fitness trade-offs associated with gaining de novo tailocin resistance, and expands the understanding of how sensistive bacterial populations can persist in the presence of lethal competitors.
Intraguild predation provides a selection mechanism for bacterial antagonistic compounds
It is suggested that the biological role of LAB bacteriocins is to enhance survival in the stationary growth phase by securing a supply of nutrients from lysed target cells, which fits into an ecological model known as intraguild predation (IGP), which is a combination of competition and predation.
The Evolution of Reduced Microbial Killing
Results indicate a fine-tuned response to the evolutionary pressures of colicin production, with far more genes involved than had been anticipated.
Nutrient-responsive regulation determines biodiversity in a colicin-mediated bacterial community
How molecular-level regulatory mechanisms that govern interference competition give rise to community-level biodiversity patterns is highlighted, showing how the environmental regulation of an antagonistic trait shapes community dynamics.
CsrA and its regulators control the time-point of ColicinE2 release in Escherichia coli
The findings show that CsrA times ColicinE2 release and reveal a dual function for CSRA as an ssDNA and mRNA-binding protein, introducing ssDNA as an important post-transcriptional gene regulatory element.
Deciphering the Role of Colicins during Colonization of the Mammalian Gut by Commensal E. coli
Understanding of the role that colicin production may play for E. coli during gut colonization is extended and it is suggested that colingin production is not essential for a commensal to persist in its physiologic niche in the absence of exogenous challenges.
Dynamics of ColicinE2 production and release determine the competitive success of a toxin-producing bacterial population
It is demonstrated that, in addition to genetic modifications in the toxin expression system, alterations of the growth medium can be used to modulate the timing of toxin production and the amount of toxin released.


Structured habitats and the evolution of anticompetitor toxins in bacteria.
  • L. Chao, B. Levin
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1981
It is suggested that structured habitats are more favorable for the evolution of colicinogenic bacteria than liquid cultures, which exist as randomly distributed individuals and as single-clone colonies.
This study, which was designed to address the role of pleiotropy in the generation of colicin resistance, revealed that 96% ofcolicin resistant mutants were resistant to two or more colicins, suggesting that when nutrients are abundant, the most advantageous forms of colingin resistance may not impose a cost.
A theoretical and empirical investigation of the invasion dynamics of colicinogeny.
The results suggest that the characteristics of different colicinogenic strains cannot be used to explain the extensive variation in the relative abundance of differentcolicins in natural populations of bacteria.
Altered colonizing ability for mouse large intestine of a surface mutant of a human faecal isolate of Escherichia coli.
It is suggested that bacterial cell surface components modulate the large intestine colonizing ability of E. coli F-17 Sr in the mouse large intestine.
Relative colonizing abilities of human fecal and K 12 strains ofEscherichia coli in the large intestines of streptomycin-treated mice
The system presented here offers a simple, rapid test to determine whether a specific genetic alteration in a bacterium results in enhanced, reduced, or unchanged colonizing ability, and might prove to be of value as a part of the clinical testing of antibiotics.
Temporal changes in the frequency of colicinogeny in Escherichia coli from house mice.
The frequency of colicinogenic isolates declined from 71% to 43% over the 7 months of the study, and the resistance of isolates to colic in E. coli increased from about 50% to 70%.
Colonization of the streptomycin-treated mouse large intestine by a human fecal Escherichia coli strain: role of growth in mucus
It is shown that when given enough time to establish a state of colonization, E. coli F-18col- persists in feces in high numbers despite subsequent challenge by E. bacteria, suggesting that the strain derived from it which does not make the E. Escherichia coli colicin can resist elimination by the latter if it is allowed enough time within the mucus layer.
The Escherichia coli K-12 gntP gene allows E. coli F-18 to occupy a distinct nutritional niche in the streptomycin-treated mouse large intestine
The data presented here support the idea that small numbers of an ingested microorganism can colonize the intestine as long as it can utilize an available nutrient better than any of the other resident species can.
Factors responsible for increased susceptibility of mice to intestinal colonization after treatment with streptomycin
The results indicate that VFA operating at the pH level of cecal contents of conventional mice inhibit the multiplication of both S. typhimurium and P. aeruginosa and restrict colonization of the intestine by these organisms.
Allelopathy in Spatially Distributed Populations
In a homogeneously mixing population of E. coli, colicin-producing and colicin-sensitive strategies both may be evolutionarily stable for certain parameter ranges, with the outcome of competition