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Environmental structure drives resistance to phages and antibiotics during phage therapy and to invading lysogens during colonisation

Abstract : Microbial communities are shaped by bacteriophages through predation and lysogeny. A better understanding of the interactions between these processes across different types of environments is key to elucidate how phages mediate microbial competition and to design efficient phage therapies. We introduce an individual-based model (eVIVALDI) to investigate the role of environmental structure in the elimination of a population with a combined treatment of antibiotics and virulent phages, and in the invasion of a population of phage-sensitive bacteria by lysogens. We show that structured environments facilitate the emergence of double resistance, to antibiotics and phages, due to limited diffusion of phage particles and increased nutrient availability from dead cells. They also hinder phage amplification, thus decreasing the generation of phage genetic diversity and increasing the unpredictability of phage-bacteria arms-races. We used a machine learning approach to determine the variables most important for the invasion of sensitive populations by lysogens. They revealed that phage-associated traits and environmental structure are the key drivers of the process. Structured environments hinder invasions, and accounting for their existence improves the fit of the model to published in vivo experimental data. Our results underline environmental structure as key to understand in vivo phage-bacteria interactions.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 12, 2019 - 3:58:29 PM
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Jorge Moura de Sousa, Eduardo Rocha. Environmental structure drives resistance to phages and antibiotics during phage therapy and to invading lysogens during colonisation. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2019, 9 (1), pp.3149. ⟨10.1038/s41598-019-39773-3⟩. ⟨pasteur-02098383⟩

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