was isolated from feral house mice during the course of a mouse plague in the state of Victoria, Australia. The isolates were characterized for the production of colicins and their resistance to the co-occurring colicins. Of the 447 isolates examined, 59% were found to be colicinogenic. Phenotypic and PCR-based genotypic methods were used to determine the types of colicins being produced. Colicin E2 was the most common, representing 27% of the colicin-producing isolates. Colicin la was produced by 3% of the colicinogenic isolates. The remaining colicins could not be identified, but phenotypic and PCR data argue that at least nine different colicin types are present in this collection of . The frequency of colicinogenic isolates declined from 71% to 43% over the 7 months of the study. All colicin types appeared to decline in frequency. Concurrently, the resistance of isolates to colicin E2 increased from about 50% to 70%. Two hypotheses are proposed to explain the decline in the frequency of colicinogeny in this population of . The first relates to the within-host interactions occurring among colicinogenic, colicin-susceptible and colicin-resistant populations within a host. The second relates to the among-host interactions between susceptible and colicinogenic populations and the effect of host population densities on these interactions.


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