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Social interaction in synthetic and natural microbial communities.

Xavier JB - Mol. Syst. Biol. (2011)

Bottom Line: These studies shed new light on the role of population structure for the evolution of cooperative interactions and revealed novel molecular mechanisms that stabilize cooperation among cells.The study of social interaction is also challenging established paradigms in cancer evolution and immune system dynamics.Finding similar patterns in such diverse systems suggests that the same 'social interaction motifs' may be general to many cell populations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Program in Computational Biology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, NY 10065, USA. XavierJ@mskcc.org

ABSTRACT
Social interaction among cells is essential for multicellular complexity. But how do molecular networks within individual cells confer the ability to interact? And how do those same networks evolve from the evolutionary conflict between individual- and population-level interests? Recent studies have dissected social interaction at the molecular level by analyzing both synthetic and natural microbial populations. These studies shed new light on the role of population structure for the evolution of cooperative interactions and revealed novel molecular mechanisms that stabilize cooperation among cells. New understanding of populations is changing our view of microbial processes, such as pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance, and suggests new ways to fight infection by exploiting social interaction. The study of social interaction is also challenging established paradigms in cancer evolution and immune system dynamics. Finding similar patterns in such diverse systems suggests that the same 'social interaction motifs' may be general to many cell populations.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Cooperative social interactions that provide a population-level benefit often come at a cost to individual's cells. (A) A cooperative interaction provides a fitness benefit to recipients. (B) A population of cooperators has a higher productivity than (C) a population of non-cooperators. (D) Non-cooperators can exploit cooperators in mixed populations by benefiting from cooperation without contributing.
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f1: Cooperative social interactions that provide a population-level benefit often come at a cost to individual's cells. (A) A cooperative interaction provides a fitness benefit to recipients. (B) A population of cooperators has a higher productivity than (C) a population of non-cooperators. (D) Non-cooperators can exploit cooperators in mixed populations by benefiting from cooperation without contributing.

Mentions: Cells can rely on molecular mechanisms of decision-making to tune costly gene expression for optimal self-benefit (Dekel and Alon, 2005). In some cases, cells can even trigger phenotypic changes in anticipation to environmental changes (Tagkopoulos et al, 2008). Genes for individual-level traits are simply favored if the benefits to the individual outweigh any fitness costs of carrying the gene (Perkins and Swain, 2009). However, cells can also have traits that increase group performance but are costly to individual cells (Figure 1). A good illustration of this conflict is the trade-off between slow growth rates with a high yield versus fast but wasteful growth. The trade-off can be a consequence of irreversible thermodynamics on heterotrophic cell metabolism and has important consequences for populations (Pfeiffer, 2001). Higher yields make a more economic use of limited resources, and therefore can be beneficial to the entire population (Pfeiffer and Bonhoeffer, 2003). The population benefit comes at the expense of individual-level restraint, as cells could grow faster with lower yields. Another example is the persister phenotype, which has a role in bacterial antibiotic resistance (Lewis, 2008). Persisters are cells in a dormant state that typically compose a small fraction of all cells in a population (Balaban et al, 2004). As many antibiotics act on growing cells, dormant cells can resist short treatments and afterwards revert back to active growth to restore the population. The persister phenotype is therefore a bet-hedging strategy (Perkins and Swain, 2009) that confers antibiotic resistance, but does so at the expense of the growth of the individuals that slow down their own growth by entering the dormant state (Gardner, 2007).


Social interaction in synthetic and natural microbial communities.

Xavier JB - Mol. Syst. Biol. (2011)

Cooperative social interactions that provide a population-level benefit often come at a cost to individual's cells. (A) A cooperative interaction provides a fitness benefit to recipients. (B) A population of cooperators has a higher productivity than (C) a population of non-cooperators. (D) Non-cooperators can exploit cooperators in mixed populations by benefiting from cooperation without contributing.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3101950&req=5

f1: Cooperative social interactions that provide a population-level benefit often come at a cost to individual's cells. (A) A cooperative interaction provides a fitness benefit to recipients. (B) A population of cooperators has a higher productivity than (C) a population of non-cooperators. (D) Non-cooperators can exploit cooperators in mixed populations by benefiting from cooperation without contributing.
Mentions: Cells can rely on molecular mechanisms of decision-making to tune costly gene expression for optimal self-benefit (Dekel and Alon, 2005). In some cases, cells can even trigger phenotypic changes in anticipation to environmental changes (Tagkopoulos et al, 2008). Genes for individual-level traits are simply favored if the benefits to the individual outweigh any fitness costs of carrying the gene (Perkins and Swain, 2009). However, cells can also have traits that increase group performance but are costly to individual cells (Figure 1). A good illustration of this conflict is the trade-off between slow growth rates with a high yield versus fast but wasteful growth. The trade-off can be a consequence of irreversible thermodynamics on heterotrophic cell metabolism and has important consequences for populations (Pfeiffer, 2001). Higher yields make a more economic use of limited resources, and therefore can be beneficial to the entire population (Pfeiffer and Bonhoeffer, 2003). The population benefit comes at the expense of individual-level restraint, as cells could grow faster with lower yields. Another example is the persister phenotype, which has a role in bacterial antibiotic resistance (Lewis, 2008). Persisters are cells in a dormant state that typically compose a small fraction of all cells in a population (Balaban et al, 2004). As many antibiotics act on growing cells, dormant cells can resist short treatments and afterwards revert back to active growth to restore the population. The persister phenotype is therefore a bet-hedging strategy (Perkins and Swain, 2009) that confers antibiotic resistance, but does so at the expense of the growth of the individuals that slow down their own growth by entering the dormant state (Gardner, 2007).

Bottom Line: These studies shed new light on the role of population structure for the evolution of cooperative interactions and revealed novel molecular mechanisms that stabilize cooperation among cells.The study of social interaction is also challenging established paradigms in cancer evolution and immune system dynamics.Finding similar patterns in such diverse systems suggests that the same 'social interaction motifs' may be general to many cell populations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Program in Computational Biology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, NY 10065, USA. XavierJ@mskcc.org

ABSTRACT
Social interaction among cells is essential for multicellular complexity. But how do molecular networks within individual cells confer the ability to interact? And how do those same networks evolve from the evolutionary conflict between individual- and population-level interests? Recent studies have dissected social interaction at the molecular level by analyzing both synthetic and natural microbial populations. These studies shed new light on the role of population structure for the evolution of cooperative interactions and revealed novel molecular mechanisms that stabilize cooperation among cells. New understanding of populations is changing our view of microbial processes, such as pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance, and suggests new ways to fight infection by exploiting social interaction. The study of social interaction is also challenging established paradigms in cancer evolution and immune system dynamics. Finding similar patterns in such diverse systems suggests that the same 'social interaction motifs' may be general to many cell populations.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus