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Adaptation to novel spatially-structured environments is driven by the capsule and alters virulence-associated traits

Abstract : The extracellular capsule is a major virulence factor, but its ubiquity in free-living bacteria with large environmental breadths suggests that it shapes adaptation to novel niches. Yet, how it does so, remains unexplored. Here, we evolve three Klebsiella strains and their capsule mutants in parallel. Their comparison reveals different phenotypic and genotypic evolutionary changes that alter virulence-associated traits. Non-capsulated populations accumulate mutations that reduce exopolysaccharide production and increase biofilm formation and yield, whereas most capsulated populations become hypermucoviscous, a signature of hypervirulence. Hence, adaptation to novel environments primarily occurs by fine-tuning expression of the capsular locus. The same evolutionary conditions selecting for mutations in the capsular gene wzc leading to hypermucoviscosity also result in increased susceptibility to antibiotics by mutations in the ramA regulon. This implies that general adaptive processes outside the host can affect capsule evolution and its role in virulence and infection outcomes may be a by-product of such adaptation.
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https://hal-pasteur.archives-ouvertes.fr/pasteur-03794548
Contributor : Olaya Rendueles Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, October 3, 2022 - 12:42:55 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 7, 2022 - 4:37:08 AM

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Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Amandine Nucci, Eduardo Rocha, Olaya Rendueles. Adaptation to novel spatially-structured environments is driven by the capsule and alters virulence-associated traits. Nature Communications, 2022, 13 (1), pp.4751. ⟨10.1038/s41467-022-32504-9⟩. ⟨pasteur-03794548⟩

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