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Logo of bmcmicrBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Microbiology
 
BMC Microbiol. 2012; 12: 40.
Published online Mar 22, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2180-12-40
PMCID: PMC3391984

Antagonistic interactions peak at intermediate genetic distance in clinical and laboratory strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Abstract

Background

Bacteria excrete costly toxins to defend their ecological niche. The evolution of such antagonistic interactions between individuals is expected to depend on both the social environment and the strength of resource competition. Antagonism is expected to be weak among highly similar genotypes because most individuals are immune to antagonistic agents and among dissimilar genotypes because these are unlikely to be competing for the same resources and antagonism should not yield much benefit. The strength of antagonism is therefore expected to peak at intermediate genetic distance.

Results

We studied the ability of laboratory strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to prevent growth of 55 different clinical P. aeruginosa isolates derived from cystic fibrosis patients. Genetic distance was determined using genetic fingerprints. We found that the strength of antagonism was maximal among genotypes of intermediate genetic distance and we show that genetic distance and resource use are linked.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that the importance of social interactions like antagonism may be modulated by the strength of resource competition.


Articles from BMC Microbiology are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central