Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Spite and virulence in the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa

By R. Fredrik Inglis, Andy Gardner, Pierre Cornelis and Angus Buckling


Social interactions within populations of pathogenic microbes may play an important role in determining disease virulence. One such ubiquitous interaction is the production of anticompetitor toxins; an example of a spiteful behavior, because it results in direct fitness costs to both the actor and recipient. Following from predictions made by mathematical models, we carried out experiments using the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa to test under what social conditions toxin (bacteriocin) production is favored and how this in turn affects virulence in the larvae of the wax moth Galleria mellonella. Consistent with theory, we found that the growth of bacteriocin producers relative to sensitive non-producers is maximized when toxin producers are at intermediate frequencies in the population. Furthermore, growth rate and virulence in caterpillars was minimized when bacteriocin producers have the greatest relative growth advantage. These results suggest that spiteful interactions may play an important role in the population dynamics and virulence of natural bacterial infections

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.