Rapid evolutionary turnover of mobile genetic elements drives bacterial resistance to phages

Type Article
Date 2021-10
Language English
Author(s) Hussain Fatima AyshaORCID1, Dubert Javier1, 2, Elsherbini JosephORCID1, Murphy MikaylaORCID1, Vaninsberghe DavidORCID1, Arevalo Philip1, Kauffman KathrynORCID1, Rodino-Janeiro Bruno KotskaORCID1, 3, Gavin HannahORCID1, Gomez Annika1, Lopatina AnnaORCID3, Le Roux Frederique4, 5, Polz Martin F.ORCID1, 3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
2 : Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
3 : Division of Microbial Ecology, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, Center for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
4 : Ifremer, Unité Physiologie Fonctionnelle des Organismes Marins, CS 10070, F-29280 Plouzané, France.
5 : Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Paris 06, CNRS, UMR 8227, Integrative Biology of Marine Models, Station Biologique de Roscoff, CS 90074, F-29688 Roscoff Cedex, France.
Source Science (0036-8075) (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)), 2021-10 , Vol. 374 , N. 6566 , P. 488-492
DOI 10.1126/science.abb1083
WOS© Times Cited 52

Although it is generally accepted that phages drive bacterial evolution, how these dynamics play out in the wild remains poorly understood. We found that susceptibility to viral killing in marine Vibrio is mediated by large and highly diverse mobile genetic elements. These phage defense elements display exceedingly fast evolutionary turnover, resulting in differential phage susceptibility among clonal bacterial strains while phage receptors remain invariant. Protection is cumulative, and a single bacterial genome can harbor 6 to 12 defense elements, accounting for more than 90% of the flexible genome among close relatives. The rapid turnover of these elements decouples phage resistance from other genomic features. Thus, resistance to phages in the wild follows evolutionary trajectories alternative to those predicted from laboratory-based evolutionary experiments.

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Hussain Fatima Aysha, Dubert Javier, Elsherbini Joseph, Murphy Mikayla, Vaninsberghe David, Arevalo Philip, Kauffman Kathryn, Rodino-Janeiro Bruno Kotska, Gavin Hannah, Gomez Annika, Lopatina Anna, Le Roux Frederique, Polz Martin F. (2021). Rapid evolutionary turnover of mobile genetic elements drives bacterial resistance to phages. Science, 374(6566), 488-492. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb1083 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00732/84375/