Cooperative secretions facilitate host range expansion in bacteria

McNally, L., Viana, M. and Brown, S. P. (2014) Cooperative secretions facilitate host range expansion in bacteria. Nature Communications, 5(4594), (doi: 10.1038/ncomms5594)

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The majority of emergent human pathogens are zoonotic in origin, that is, they can transmit to humans from other animals. Understanding the factors underlying the evolution of pathogen host range is therefore of critical importance in protecting human health. There are two main evolutionary routes to generalism: organisms can tolerate multiple environments or they can modify their environments to forms to which they are adapted. Here we use a combination of theory and a phylogenetic comparative analysis of 191 pathogenic bacterial species to show that bacteria use cooperative secretions that modify their environment to extend their host range and infect multiple host species. Our results suggest that cooperative secretions are key determinants of host range in bacteria, and that monitoring for the acquisition of secreted proteins by horizontal gene transfer can help predict emerging zoonoses.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Viana, Dr Mafalda
Authors: McNally, L., Viana, M., and Brown, S. P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 5(4594)
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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