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Proc Biol Sci. Jan 7, 2003; 270(1510): 37–44.
PMCID: PMC1691207
Cooperation, virulence and siderophore production in bacterial parasites.
Stuart A West and Angus Buckling
Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.
Stuart A West: stu.west/at/ed.ac.uk
Abstract
Kin selection theory predicts that the damage to a host resulting from parasite infection (parasite virulence) will be negatively correlated to the relatedness between parasites within the host. This occurs because a lower relatedness leads to greater competition for host resources, which favours rapid growth to achieve greater relative success within the host, and that higher parasite growth rate leads to higher virulence. We show that a biological feature of bacterial infections can lead to the opposite prediction: a positive correlation between relatedness and virulence. This occurs because a high relatedness can favour greater (cooperative) production of molecules that scavenge iron (siderophores), which results in higher growth rates and virulence. More generally, the same underlying idea can predict a positive relationship between relatedness and virulence in any case where parasites can cooperate to increase their growth rate; other examples include immune suppression and the production of biofilms to aid colonization.
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Selected References
These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Brown SP. Cooperation and conflict in host-manipulating parasites. Proc Biol Sci. 1999 Sep 22;266(1431):1899–1899. [PMC free article]
Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of
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