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Coculturing bacteria leads to reduced phenotypic heterogeneities
Heyse, J.; Buysschaert, B.; Props, R.; Rubbens, P.; Skirtach, A.G.; Waegeman, W.; Boon, N. (2019). Coculturing bacteria leads to reduced phenotypic heterogeneities. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 85(8): e02814-18.
In: Applied and Environmental Microbiology. American Society for Microbiology: Washington. ISSN 0099-2240; e-ISSN 1098-5336, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Fresh water
Author keywords
    Raman spectroscopy; axenic culture; coculture; flow cytometry; microbial interactions; phenotypic heterogeneity; single cell; synthetic ecosystems

Authors  Top 
  • Heyse, J., more
  • Buysschaert, B.
  • Props, R., more
  • Rubbens, P., more
  • Skirtach, A.G.
  • Waegeman, W., more
  • Boon, N., more

    Isogenic bacterial populations are known to exhibit phenotypic heterogeneity at the single-cell level. Because of difficulties in assessing the phenotypic heterogeneity of a single taxon in a mixed community, the importance of this deeper level of organization remains relatively unknown for natural communities. In this study, we have used membrane-based microcosms that allow the probing of the phenotypic heterogeneity of a single taxon while interacting with a synthetic or natural community. Individual taxa were studied under axenic conditions, as members of a coculture with physical separation, and as a mixed culture. Phenotypic heterogeneity was assessed through both flow cytometry and Raman spectroscopy. Using this setup, we investigated the effect of microbial interactions on the individual phenotypic heterogeneities of two interacting drinking water isolates. Through flow cytometry we have demonstrated that interactions between these bacteria lead to a reduction of their individual phenotypic diversities and that this adjustment is conditional on the bacterial taxon. Single-cell Raman spectroscopy confirmed a taxon-dependent phenotypic shift due to the interaction. In conclusion, our data suggest that bacterial interactions may be a general driver of phenotypic heterogeneity in mixed microbial populations.

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