The Evolution of Bacteriocin Production in Bacterial Biofilms

  title={The Evolution of Bacteriocin Production in Bacterial Biofilms},
  author={Vanni Bucci and Carey D. Nadell and Jo{\~a}o Barcellos Xavier},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  pages={E162 - E173}
Bacteriocin production is a spiteful behavior of bacteria that is central to the competitive dynamics of many human pathogens. Social evolution predicts that bacteriocin production is favored when bacteriocin-producing cells are mixed at intermediate frequency with their competitors and when competitive neighborhoods are localized. Both predictions are supported by biofilm experiments. However, the means by which physical and biological processes interact to produce conditions that favor the… 
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First attempt at comparing colicin expression in biofilm and planktonic environments is presented, predicting that in a spatially structured environment, the population would increase its bacteriocin expression, corresponding to an elevation in genes reported to be associated with stress response in E. coli biofilm.
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The first biofilm simulation framework is developed that captures key features of biofilm growth and phage infection and opens avenues to new questions of host-parasite coevolution in the spatially structured biofilm context.
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The results suggest that yeast biofilmms represent a competitive strategy, and that principles elucidated for the evolution and stability of bacterial biofilms may apply to eukaryotes.
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This work develops the first biofilm simulation framework that captures key mechanistic features of biofilm growth and phage infection and finds that the equilibrium state of interaction between biofilms and phages is governed largely by nutrient availability to biofilm, infection likelihood per host encounter, and the ability of phages to diffuse through biofilm populations.


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