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.. (2020) The evolution of tit-for-tat in bacteria via the type VI secretion system. Nature communications, 11 (1). p. 5395.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/79798/

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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'.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Infection Biology > Infection Biology (Basler)
UniBasel Contributors:Basler, Marek
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher: Nature Research
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:30 Dec 2020 10:01
Deposited On:30 Dec 2020 10:01

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