Predation in Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Phage Environments Affects Virulence Determinants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • ABSTRACTThe rise of bacterial variants in the presence of lytic phages has been one of the basic grounds for evolution studies. However, there are incongruent results among different studies investigating the effect of phage resistance acquisition on bacterial fitness and virulence. We used experimental evolution to generate three classes ofPseudomonas aeruginosavariants under selective pressure from two different homogeneous phage environments and one heterogeneous phage environment. The fitness and virulence determinants of the variants, such as growth, motility, biofilm formation, resistance to oxidative stress, and the production of siderophores and chromophores, changed significantly compared to the control. Variants with similar colony morphology that were developed through different phage treatments have different phenotypic traits. Also, mRNA transcription for genes associated with certain phenotypic traits changed significantly; however, sequencing did not reveal any point mutations in selected gene loci. Furthermore, the appearance of small colony variants and melanogenic variants and the increase in pyocyanin and pyoverdin production for some variants are believed to affect the virulence of the population. The knowledge gained from this study will fundamentally contribute to our understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of bacteria under phage selective pressure which is crucial to the efficient utilization of bacteriophages in medical contexts.

publication date

  • May 1, 2013