14-16 September 2022
Europe/Berlin timezone

Stabilization of microbiomes by stochastic and responsive phenotypic switching

14 Sep 2022, 11:00


Pierre Haas (Max Planck Institutes for the Physics of Complex Systems & of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics )


Authors: Pierre A. Haas, Maria A. Gutierrez, Nuno M. Oliveira, and Raymond E. Goldstein

In complex microbial communities such as microbiomes, clonal bacteria switch between different phenotypes. This switching can be stochastic, but switching in response to other species is beginning to be appreciated as a feature of microbial populations because of the importance of competitive interactions in microbiomes [1] and attack responses such as the recently reported "suicidal chemotaxis" of Pseudomonas [2]. In this talk, I will analyze the surprising ecological consequences of phenotypic variation for microbiome stability and diversity theoretically: even though such a subpopulation structure increases the effective number of species and might therefore be expected to be destabilizing, I will show that stochastic switching to a rare phenotype is stabilizing on average [3]. Extending this statistical analysis to responsive phenotypic switching, I will emphasize the importance of non-steady-state attractors for coexistence [4]. Finally, I will address the mechanisms by which responsive phenotypic switching can stabilize coexistence in a minimal two-species model which reveals how responsive switching can stabilize coexistence even when stochastic switching on its own has no effect on stability [4]. [1] K. Z. Coyte, J. Schluter, and K. R. Foster, Science 350, 663 (2015) [2] N. M. Oliveira, J. H. R. Wheeler, C. Deroy, S. C. Booth, E. J. Walsh, W. M. Durham, and K. R. Foster, biorXiv:2021.12.21.473623v3 (sub judice, 2022) [3] PAH, N. M. Oliveira, and R. E. Goldstein, Phys. Rev. Research (Rapid Communications) 2, 022036(R) (2020) [4] PAH, M. A. Gutierrez, N. M. Oliviera, and R. E. Goldstein, arXiv:2112.06256v2 (sub judice, 2022)

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