1887

Abstract

Coevolution between bacteriophages (phages) and their prey is the result of mutualistic interactions. Here, we show that pseudolysogeny is a frequent outcome of infection by virulent phages of and that selection of resistant bacterial mutants is favoured by continuous production of phages. We investigated the frequency and characteristics of strain PAO1 variants resisting infection by different combinations of virulent phages belonging to four genera. The frequency of resistant bacteria was 10 for single phage infection and 10 for infections with combinations of two or four phages. The genome of 27 variants was sequenced and the comparison with the genome of the parental PAO1 strain allowed the identification of point mutations or small indels. Four additional variants were characterized by a candidate gene approach. In total, 27 independent mutations were observed affecting 14 genes and a regulatory region. The mutations affected genes involved in biosynthesis of type IV pilus, alginate, LPS and O-antigen. Half of the variants possessed changes in homopolymer tracts responsible for frameshift mutations and these phase variation mutants were shown to be unstable. Eleven double mutants were detected. The presence of free phage DNA was observed in association with exclusion of superinfection in half of the variants and no chromosomal mutation could be found in three of them. Upon further growth of these pseudolysogens, some variants with new chromosomal mutations were recovered, presumably due to continuous evolutionary pressure.

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2016-05-01
2021-10-28
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