Effect of the IncP-1 beta plasmid pHB44 on the population dynamics of Burkholderia terrae BS001 in the Lyophyllum sp strain Karsten mycosphere under different iron conditions

Zhang, M., Yang, P. & van Elsas, J. D., Feb-2016, In : FEMS Microbial Ecology. 92, 2, 10 p., 167.

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  • Effect of the IncP-1 beta plasmid pHB44 on the population dynamics of Burkholderia

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Burkholderia terrae strain BS001 is a well-described inhabitant of the mycosphere of diverse fungi. In the interaction between this bacterium and its fungal host in soil, competition for iron might be a key process. Here, we address the capacity of the broad-host-range IncP-1 beta plasmid pHB44, originally isolated in Variovorax paradoxus HB44, to enhance or modulate the competitiveness of B. terrae BS001 under different soil iron levels when confronted with (young versus ageing) mycelia of Lyophyllum sp. strain Karsten in microcosms. The data revealed that, in most cases, plasmid pHB44 reduced the fitness of its host in the mycosphere, possibly due to a metabolic burden effect. However, an opposite effect was found under low-iron conditions at the extreme tips of the soil-exploring Lyophyllum sp. strain Karsten mycelium. The negative effect of plasmid pHB44 on strain BS001 population sizes was clearly offset by fitness enhancement under these conditions. Moreover, as evidenced by using plasmid pSUP104 as a tracer, plasmid pHB44 was transferred from the B. terrae BS001 host into V. paradoxus BS64 in the ageing mycosphere, but not in bulk soil. Strikingly, successful plasmid establishment in the new host was more prominent in the iron-limited than in the 'high-iron' mycosphere habitat, indicating plasmid pHB44 was required in the V. paradoxus host as a fitness stimulator in the iron-limited condition. Taken together, the data suggest that efficiency of iron acquisition only served as the selective mechanism under certain conditions of iron availability in the soil, specifically promoting the fitness of V. paradoxus transconjugants. Not only is the mycosphere to be regarded as a selective arena in which horizontal gene transfer across the bacterial inhabitants is spurred, but the outcome of the adaptive processes is strongly shaped by competitive events among the local organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167
Number of pages10
JournalFEMS Microbial Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2016


  • IncP-1 beta plasmid, iron uptake, horizontal gene transfer, Burkholderia terrae BS001, mycosphere, HORIZONTAL GENE-TRANSFER, HOST-RANGE PLASMIDS, BACTERIA, FITNESS, SELECTION, FUNGI, PHYTOSPHERE, CARRIAGE, FAMILY, IMPACT

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