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.
Biofilm Structure Promotes Coexistence of Phage-Resistant and Phage-Susceptible Bacteria
ABSTRACT Encounters among bacteria and their viral predators (bacteriophages) are among the most common ecological interactions on Earth. These encounters are likely to occur with regularity inside surface-bound communities that microbes most often occupy in natural environments. Such communities, termed biofilms, are spatially constrained: interactions become limited to near neighbors, diffusion of solutes and particulates can be reduced, and there is pronounced heterogeneity in nutrient access and physiological state. It is appreciated from prior theoretical work that phage-bacteria interactions are fundamentally different in spatially structured contexts, as opposed to well-mixed liquid culture. Spatially structured communities are predicted to promote the protection of susceptible host cells from phage exposure, and thus weaken selection for phage resistance. The details and generality of this prediction in realistic biofilm environments, however, are not known. Here, we explore phage-host interactions using experiments and simulations that are tuned to represent the essential elements of biofilm communities. Our simulations show that in biofilms, phage-resistant cells—as their relative abundance increases—can protect clusters of susceptible cells from phage exposure, promoting the coexistence of susceptible and phage-resistant bacteria under a large array of conditions. We characterize the population dynamics underlying this coexistence, and we show that coexistence is recapitulated in more »
- Bordenstein, Seth
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Spatial patterns in phage-Rhizobium coevolutionary interactions across regions of common bean domestication
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