When bacterial cells come in contact, antagonism mediated by the delivery of toxins frequently ensues. The potential for such encounters to have long-term beneficial consequences in recipient cells has not been investigated. Here we examined the effects of intoxication by DddA, a cytosine deaminase delivered via the type VI secretion system (T6SS) of Burkholderia cenocepacia. Despite its killing potential, we observed that several bacterial species resist DddA and instead accumulate mutations. These mutations can lead to the acquisition of antibiotic resistance, indicating that even in the absence of killing, interbacterial antagonism can have profound consequences on target populations. Investigation of additional toxins from the deaminase superfamily revealed that mutagenic activity is a common feature of these proteins, including a representative we show targets single-stranded DNA and displays a markedly divergent structure. Our findings suggest that a surprising consequence of antagonistic interactions between bacteria could be the promotion of adaptation via the action of directly mutagenic toxins.
Diffraction data have been deposited in PDB under the accession code 7JTU.Sequencing data have been deposited at the NCBI Trace and Short-Read Archive (SRA) under BioProject accession ID PRJNA659516.
An interbacterial toxin directly mutagenizes surviving target populationsNCBI Bioproject, PRJNA659516.
- Paul A Wiggins
- Joseph D Mougous
- Joseph D Mougous
- Marcos H de Moraes
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Vaughn S Cooper, University of Pittsburgh, United States
© 2021, de Moraes et al.
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