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Abstract

Bacterial deficiencies in the DNA repair system can produce mutator strains that promote adaptive microevolution. However, the role of mutator strains in marine , capable of generating various gain-of-function genetic variants within biofilms, remains largely unknown. In this study, inactivation of in conferred an approximately 100-fold increased resistance to various antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin, rifampicin and aminoglycoside. Furthermore, the mutator of generated variants that displayed enhanced biofilm formation but reduced swimming motility, indicating a high phenotypic diversity within the Δ population. Additionally, we observed a significant production rate of approximately 50 % for the translucent variants, which play important roles in biofilm formation, when the Δ strain was cultured on agar plates or under shaking conditions. Using whole-genome deep-sequencing combined with genetic manipulation, we demonstrated that point mutations in within the capsular biosynthesis cluster were responsible for the generation of translucent variants in the Δ subpopulation, while mutations in flagellar genes and led to a decrease in swimming motility. Collectively, this study reveals a specific mutator-driven evolution in , characterized by substantial genetic and phenotypic diversification, thereby offering a reservoir of genetic attributes associated with microbial fitness.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • National Natural Science Foundation of China (Award 91951203, 31970037 and 41606179)
    • Principle Award Recipient: YuexueGuo
  • Guangzhou Municipal Science and Technology Project (Award 202201010153 and 202201010283)
    • Principle Award Recipient: ZhenshunZeng
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
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2023-10-18
2024-07-25
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