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Bacterial sex drives evolution of microbes to conquer and colonize the gut. This discovery constitutes a paradigm shift and opens the possibility to design phage-targeted therapies capable of dealing with the aftermath of infection and antibiotic usage, as well as antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Most of what we know about bacterial colonization of the gut comes from studies with pathogenic bacteria in highly artificial laboratory models or disease contexts. Standard experimental models, which focus on infections with pathogenic bacteria and continuous antibiotic treatment, have not detected phage-driven horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and suggest that bacteria colonizing the gut evolve mainly through accumulation of mutations. In a surprising finding, the work of the IGC researchers now shows that HGT, not mutations, is the first evolutionary mechanism driving the pace and outcome of bacterial evolution in a healthy gut.
Escherichia - Colonizer - Intestine - Pathogen - Colonization
Escherichia coliis a common colonizer of the human intestine as well as a potential pathogen. The colonization outcome is greatly influenced by different speeds and modes of evolution of this opportunistic bacterium.E. colican evolve through mutations, which are then inherited by daughter cells, or through a process of recombination, i.e. bacterial sex, in which genetic material is shared between unrelated...
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