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 Vol 5: Extracellular enzyme production and cheating in Pseudomonas fluorescens depend on diffusion rates.


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This article is from Frontiers in Microbiology, volume 5.AbstractBacteria produce extracellular enzymes to obtain resources from complex chemical substrates, but this strategy is vulnerable to cheating by cells that take up reaction products without paying the cost of enzyme production. We hypothesized that cheating would suppress enzyme production in co-cultures of cheater and producer bacteria, particularly under well-mixed conditions. To test this hypothesis, we monitored protease expression and frequencies of Pseudomonas fluorescens producer and cheater genotypes over time in mixed liquid cultures and on agar plates. In mixed culture inoculated with equal frequencies of cheaters and producers, enzyme concentration declined to zero after 20 days, consistent with our hypothesis. We observed a similar decline in cultures inoculated with producers only, suggesting that cheater mutants arose de novo and swept the population. DNA sequencing showed that genetic changes most likely occurred outside the protease operon. In one experimental replicate, the population regained the ability to produce protease, likely due to further genetic changes or population dynamics. Under spatially structured conditions on agar plates, cheaters did not sweep the population. Instead, we observed a significant increase in the variation of enzyme activity levels expressed by clones isolated from the population. Together these results suggest that restricted diffusion favors a diversity of enzyme production strategies. In contrast, well-mixed conditions favor population sweeps by cheater strains, consistent with theoretical predictions. Cheater and producer strategies likely coexist in natural environments with the frequency of cheating increasing with diffusion rate.



Author: Allison, Steven D.; Lu, Lucy; Kent, Alyssa G.; Martiny, Adam C.

Source: https://archive.org/



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