Effect of resource availability on evolution of virulence and competition in an environmentally transmitted pathogen

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Pulkkinen , K , Pekkala , N , Ashrafi , R , Hamalainen , D M , Nkembeng , A N , Lipponen , A , Hiltunen , T , Valkonen , J K & Taskinen , J 2018 , ' Effect of resource availability on evolution of virulence and competition in an environmentally transmitted pathogen ' , FEMS Microbiology Ecology , vol. 94 , no. 5 , 060 . https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiy060

Title: Effect of resource availability on evolution of virulence and competition in an environmentally transmitted pathogen
Author: Pulkkinen, Katja; Pekkala, Nina; Ashrafi, Roghaieh; Hamalainen, Dorrit M.; Nkembeng, Aloysius N.; Lipponen, Anssi; Hiltunen, Teppo; Valkonen, Janne K.; Taskinen, Jouni
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Microbiology
Date: 2018-05
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: FEMS Microbiology Ecology
ISSN: 0168-6496
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/307950
Abstract: Understanding ecological and epidemiological factors driving pathogen evolution in contemporary time scales is a major challenge in modern health management. Pathogens that replicate outside the hosts are subject to selection imposed by ambient environmental conditions. Increased nutrient levels could increase pathogen virulence by pre-adapting for efficient use of resources upon contact to a nutrient rich host or by favouring transmission of fast-growing virulent strains. We measured changes in virulence and competition in Flavobacterium columnare, a bacterial pathogen of freshwater fish, under high and low nutrient levels. To test competition between strains in genotype mixtures, we developed a quantitative real-time PCR assay. We found that a virulent strain maintained its virulence and outcompeted less virulent strains independent of the nutrient level and resource renewal rate while a less virulent strain further lost virulence in chemostats under low nutrient level and over long-term serial culture under high nutrient level. Our results suggest that increased outside-host nutrient levels might maintain virulence in less virulent strains and increase their contribution to epidemics in aquaculture. The results highlight a need to further explore the role of resource in the outside-host environment in maintaining strain diversity and driving evolution of virulence among environmentally growing pathogens.
Subject: bacterium
Flavobacterium columnare
fish disease
interference competition
qPCR
resource competition
IN-VITRO PASSAGES
AC LYASE ACTIVITY
FLAVOBACTERIUM-COLUMNARE
RAPID EVOLUTION
FLEXIBACTER-COLUMNARIS
ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION
ESCHERICHIA-COLI
FISH FARMS
TRADE-OFF
DIVERSITY
1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
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