skip to main content

Title: Spatial patterns in phage- Rhizobium coevolutionary interactions across regions of common bean domestication

Bacteriophages play significant roles in the composition, diversity, and evolution of bacterial communities. Despite their importance, it remains unclear how phage diversity and phage-host interactions are spatially structured. Local adaptation may play a key role. Nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacteria, known as rhizobia, have been shown to locally adapt to domesticated common bean at its Mesoamerican and Andean sites of origin. This may affect phage-rhizobium interactions. However, knowledge about the diversity and coevolution of phages with their respective Rhizobium populations is lacking. Here, through the study of four phage-Rhizobium communities in Mexico and Argentina, we show that both phage and host diversity is spatially structured. Cross-infection experiments demonstrated that phage infection rates were higher overall in sympatric rhizobia than in allopatric rhizobia except for one Argentinean community, indicating phage local adaptation and host maladaptation. Phage-host interactions were shaped by the genetic identity and geographic origin of both the phage and the host. The phages ranged from specialists to generalists, revealing a nested network of interactions. Our results suggest a key role of local adaptation to resident host bacterial communities in shaping the phage genetic and phenotypic composition, following a similar spatial pattern of diversity and coevolution to that in the host.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The ISME Journal
Medium: X Size: p. 2092-2106
["p. 2092-2106"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Dudley, Edward G. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Bacteriophages (phages) are currently available for use by the food industry to control the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes . Although phage biocontrols are effective under specific conditions, their use can select for phage-resistant bacteria that repopulate phage-treated environments. Here, we performed short-term coevolution experiments to investigate the impact of single phages and a two-phage cocktail on the regrowth of phage-resistant L. monocytogenes and the adaptation of the phages to overcome this resistance. We used whole-genome sequencing to identify mutations in the target host that confer phage resistance and in the phages that alter host range. We found that infections with Listeria phages LP-048, LP-125, or a combination of both select for different populations of phage-resistant L. monocytogenes bacteria with different regrowth times. Phages isolated from the end of the coevolution experiments were found to have gained the ability to infect phage-resistant mutants of L. monocytogenes and L. monocytogenes strains previously found to be broadly resistant to phage infection. Phages isolated from coinfected cultures were identified as recombinants of LP-048 and LP-125. Interestingly, recombination events occurred twice independently in a locus encoding two proteins putatively involved in DNA binding. We show that short-term coevolution of phages and their hosts can be utilized to obtain mutant and recombinant phages with adapted host ranges. These laboratory-evolved phages may be useful for limiting the emergence of phage resistance and for targeting strains that show general resistance to wild-type (WT) phages. IMPORTANCE Listeria monocytogenes is a life-threatening bacterial foodborne pathogen that can persist in food processing facilities for years. Phages can be used to control L. monocytogenes in food production, but phage-resistant bacterial subpopulations can regrow in phage-treated environments. Coevolution experiments were conducted on a Listeria phage-host system to provide insight into the genetic variation that emerges in both the phage and bacterial host under reciprocal selective pressure. As expected, mutations were identified in both phage and host, but additionally, recombination events were shown to have repeatedly occurred between closely related phages that coinfected L. monocytogenes . This study demonstrates that in vitro evolution of phages can be utilized to expand the host range and improve the long-term efficacy of phage-based control of L. monocytogenes . This approach may also be applied to other phage-host systems for applications in biocontrol, detection, and phage therapy. 
    more » « less
  2. Hendrickson, Heather (Ed.)
    Abstract Bacteria and lytic viruses (phages) engage in highly dynamic coevolutionary interactions over time, yet we have little idea of how transient selection by phages might shape the future evolutionary trajectories of their host populations. To explore this question, we generated genetically diverse phage-resistant mutants of the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae. We subjected the panel of mutants to prolonged experimental evolution in the absence of phages. Some populations re-evolved phage sensitivity, whereas others acquired compensatory mutations that reduced the costs of resistance without altering resistance levels. To ask whether these outcomes were driven by the initial genetic mechanisms of resistance, we next evolved independent replicates of each individual mutant in the absence of phages. We found a strong signature of historical contingency: some mutations were highly reversible across replicate populations, whereas others were highly entrenched. Through whole-genome sequencing of bacteria over time, we also found that populations with the same resistance gene acquired more parallel sets of mutations than populations with different resistance genes, suggesting that compensatory adaptation is also contingent on how resistance initially evolved. Our study identifies an evolutionary ratchet in bacteria–phage coevolution and may explain previous observations that resistance persists over time in some bacterial populations but is lost in others. We add to a growing body of work describing the key role of phages in the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of their host communities. Beyond this specific trait, our study provides a new insight into the genetic architecture of historical contingency, a crucial component of interpreting and predicting evolution. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Dormancy is an adaptation to living in fluctuating environments. It allows individuals to enter a reversible state of reduced metabolic activity when challenged by unfavorable conditions. Dormancy can also influence species interactions by providing organisms with a refuge from predators and parasites. Here we test the hypothesis that, by generating a seed bank of protected individuals, dormancy can modify the patterns and processes of antagonistic coevolution. We conducted a factorially designed experiment where we passaged a bacterial host (Bacillus subtilis) and its phage (SPO1) in the presence versus absence of a seed bank consisting of dormant endospores. Owing in part to the inability of phages to attach to spores, seed banks stabilized population dynamics and resulted in minimum host densities that were 30-fold higher compared to bacteria that were unable to engage in dormancy. By supplying a refuge to phage-sensitive strains, we show that seed banks retained phenotypic diversity that was otherwise lost to selection. Dormancy also stored genetic diversity. After characterizing allelic variation with pooled population sequencing, we found that seed banks retained twice as many host genes with mutations, whether phages were present or not. Based on mutational trajectories over the course of the experiment, we demonstrate that seed banks can dampen bacteria-phage coevolution. Not only does dormancy create structure and memory that buffers populations against environmental fluctuations, it also modifies species interactions in ways that can feed back onto the eco-evolutionary dynamics of microbial communities.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Viruses that infect bacteria, known as bacteriophages or phages, are the most prevalent entities on Earth. Their genetic diversity in nature is well documented, and members of divergent lineages can be found sharing the same ecological niche. This viral diversity can be influenced by a number of factors, including productivity, spatial structuring of the environment, and host-range trade-offs. Rapid evolution is also known to promote diversity by buffering ecological systems from extinction. There is, however, little known about the impact of coevolution on the maintenance of viral diversity within a microbial community. To address this, we developed a 4 species experimental system where two bacterial hosts, a generalist and a specialist phage, coevolved in a spatially homogenous environment over time. We observed the persistence of both viruses if the resource availability was sufficiently high. This coexistence occurred in the absence of any detectable host-range trade-offs that are costly for generalists and thus known to promote viral diversity. However, the coexistence was lost if two bacteria were not permitted to evolve alongside the phages or if two phages coevolved with a single bacterial host. Our findings indicate that a host’s resistance response in mixed-species communities plays a significant role in maintaining viral diversity in the environment.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The rate and trajectory of evolution in an obligate parasite is critically dependent on those of its host(s). Adaptation to a genetically homogeneous host population should theoretically result in specialization, while adaptation to an evolving host population (i.e., coevolution) can result in various outcomes including diversification, range expansion, and/or local adaptation. For viruses of bacteria (bacteriophages, or phages), our understanding of how evolutionary history of the bacterial host(s) impacts viral genotypic and phenotypic evolution is currently limited. In this study, we used whole genome sequencing and two different metrics of phage impacts to compare the genotypes and phenotypes of lytic phages that had either coevolved with or were repeatedly passaged on an unchanging (ancestral) strain of the phytopathogenPseudomonas syringae. Genomes of coevolved phages had more mutations than those of phages passaged on a constant host, and most mutations were in genes encoding phage tail‐associated proteins. Phages from both passaging treatments shared some phenotypic outcomes, including range expansion and divergence across replicate populations, but coevolved phages were more efficient at reducing population growth (particularly of sympatric coevolved hosts). Genotypic similarity correlated with infectivity profile similarity in coevolved phages, but not in phages passaged on the ancestral host. Overall, while adaptation to either host type (coevolving or ancestral) led to divergence in phage tail proteins and infectivity patterns, coevolution led to more rapid molecular changes that increased bacterial killing efficiency and had more predictable effects on infectivity range. Together, these results underscore the important role of hosts in driving viral evolution and in shaping the genotype–phenotype relationship.

    more » « less