Adaptive radiation by waves of gene transfer leads to fine-scale resource partitioning in marine microbes

Jan Hendrik Hehemann, Philip Arevalo, Manoshi S. Datta, Xiaoqian Yu, Christopher H. Corzett, Andreas Henschel, Sarah P. Preheim, Sonia Timberlake, Eric J. Alm, Martin F. Polz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adaptive radiations are important drivers of niche filling, since they rapidly adapt a single clade of organisms to ecological opportunities. Although thought to be common for animals and plants, adaptive radiations have remained difficult to document for microbes in the wild. Here we describe a recent adaptive radiation leading to fine-scale ecophysiological differentiation in the degradation of an algal glycan in a clade of closely related marine bacteria. Horizontal gene transfer is the primary driver in the diversification of the pathway leading to several ecophysiologically differentiated Vibrionaceae populations adapted to different physical forms of alginate. Pathway architecture is predictive of function and ecology, underscoring that horizontal gene transfer without extensive regulatory changes can rapidly assemble fully functional pathways in microbes.

Original languageBritish English
Article number12860
JournalNature Communications
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2016

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