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The evolution of tit-for-tat in bacteria via the type VI secretion system

Smith, William P.J. and Brodmann, Maj and Unterweger, Daniel and Davit, Yohan and Comstock, Laurie E. and Basler, Marek and Foster, Kevin R. The evolution of tit-for-tat in bacteria via the type VI secretion system. (2020) Nature Communications, 11 (5395). 1-11.

(Document in English)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19017-z


Tit-for-tat is a familiar principle from animal behavior: individuals respond in kind to being helped or harmed by others. Remarkably some bacteria appear to display tit-for-tat behavior, but how this evolved is not understood. Here we combine evolutionary game theory with agent-based modelling of bacterial tit-for-tat, whereby cells stab rivals with poisoned needles (the type VI secretion system) after being stabbed themselves. Our modelling shows tit-for-tat retaliation is a surprisingly poor evolutionary strategy, because tit-for-tat cells lack the first-strike advantage of preemptive attackers. However, if cells retaliate strongly and fire back multiple times, we find that reciprocation is highly effective. We test our predictions by competing Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a tit-for-tat species) with Vibrio cholerae (random-firing), revealing that P. aeruginosa does indeed fire multiple times per incoming attack. Our work suggests bacterial competition has led to a particular form of reciprocation, where the principle is that of strong retaliation, or ‘tits-for-tat’.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This article is available at : https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-19017-z. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
HAL Id:hal-03031837
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Other partners > Harvard Medical School - HMS (USA)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > Brigham and Women's Hospital - BHW (USA)
Other partners > Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel - CAU (GERMANY)
Other partners > Max Plank Institut für Evolutionsbiologie (GERMANY)
Other partners > University of Oxford (UNITED KINGDOM)
Other partners > University of Basel (Suisse)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:18 Nov 2020 11:53

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