Rampant prophage movement among transient competitors drives rapid adaptation during infectionPublication
Date: 2nd February 2021 | Source: BioRxiv
Interactions between bacteria, their close competitors, and viral parasites are common in infections but understanding of these eco-evolutionary dynamics is limited. Most examples of adaptations caused by phage lysogeny are through the acquisition of new genes. However, integrated prophages can also insert into functional genes and impart a fitness benefit by disrupting their expression, a process called active lysogeny.
Here, we show that active lysogeny can fuel rapid, parallel adaptations in establishing a chronic infection. These recombination events repeatedly disrupted genes encoding global regulators, leading to increased cyclic-di-GMP levels and elevated biofilm production. The implications of prophage-mediated adaptation are broad, as even transient members of microbial communities can alter the course of evolution and generate persistent phenotypes associated with poor clinical outcomes.