Herd immunity, a process in which resistant individuals limit the spread of a pathogen among susceptible hosts has been extensively studied in eukaryotes. Even though bacteria have evolved multiple immune systems against their phage pathogens, herd immunity in bacteria remains unexplored. Here we experimentally demonstrate that herd immunity arises during phage epidemics in structured and unstructured Escherichia coli populations consisting of differing frequencies of susceptible and resistant cells harboring CRISPR immunity. In addition, we develop a mathematical model that quantifies how herd immunity is affected by spatial population structure, bacterial growth rate, and phage replication rate. Using our model we infer a general epidemiological rule describing the relative speed of an epidemic in partially resistant spatially structured populations. Our experimental and theoretical findings indicate that herd immunity may be important in bacterial communities, allowing for stable coexistence of bacteria and their phages and the maintenance of polymorphism in bacterial immunity.
Data from: CRISPR-based herd immunity limits phage epidemics in bacterial populationsAvailable at Dryad Digital Repository under a CC0 Public Domain Dedication.
Code used for manuscript: CRISPR-based Herd Immunity Limits Phage Epidemics in Bacterial Populationsdoi:10.5281/zenodo.1038582.
- Jonathan P Bollback
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Richard A Neher, University of Basel, Switzerland
© 2018, Payne et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Global agro-biodiversity has resulted from processes of plant migration and agricultural adoption. Although critically affecting current diversity, crop diffusion from Classical antiquity to the Middle Ages is poorly researched, overshadowed by studies on that of prehistoric periods. A new archaeobotanical dataset from three Negev Highland desert sites demonstrates the first millennium CE’s significance for long-term agricultural change in Southwest Asia. This enables evaluation of the ‘Islamic Green Revolution (IGR)’ thesis compared to ‘Roman Agricultural Diffusion (RAD)’, and both versus crop diffusion during and since the Neolithic. Among the findings, some of the earliest aubergine (Solanum melongena) seeds in the Levant represent the proposed IGR. Several other identified economic plants, including two unprecedented in Levantine archaeobotany—jujube (Ziziphus jujuba/mauritiana) and white lupine (Lupinus albus)—implicate RAD as the greater force for crop migrations. Altogether the evidence supports a gradualist model for Holocene-wide crop diffusion, within which the first millennium CE contributed more to global agricultural diversity than any earlier period.
The structure and diversity of microbial communities are intrinsically hierarchical due to the shared evolutionary history of their constituents. This history is typically captured through taxonomic assignment and phylogenetic reconstruction, sources of information that are frequently used to group microbes into higher levels of organization in experimental and natural communities. Connecting community diversity to the joint ecological dynamics of the abundances of these groups is a central problem of community ecology. However, how microbial diversity depends on the scale of observation at which groups are defined has never been systematically examined. Here, we used a macroecological approach to quantitatively characterize the structure and diversity of microbial communities among disparate environments across taxonomic and phylogenetic scales. We found that measures of biodiversity at a given scale can be consistently predicted using a minimal model of ecology, the Stochastic Logistic Model of growth (SLM). This result suggests that the SLM is a more appropriate null-model for microbial biodiversity than alternatives such as the Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity. Extending these within-scale results, we examined the relationship between measures of biodiversity calculated at different scales (e.g. genus vs. family), an empirical pattern previously evaluated in the context of the Diversity Begets Diversity (DBD) hypothesis (Madi et al., 2020). We found that the relationship between richness estimates at different scales can be quantitatively predicted assuming independence among community members, demonstrating that the DBD can be sufficiently explained using the SLM as a null model of ecology. Contrastingly, only by including correlations between the abundances of community members (e.g. as the consequence of interactions) can we predict the relationship between estimates of diversity at different scales. The results of this study characterize novel microbial patterns across scales of organization and establish a sharp demarcation between recently proposed macroecological patterns that are not and are affected by ecological interactions.