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Phenotypic heterogeneity is a selected trait in natural yeast populations subject to environmental stress

Holland, Sara L.; Reader, Tom; Dyer, Paul S.; Avery, Simon V.

Authors

Sara L. Holland

TOM READER tom.reader@nottingham.ac.uk
Associate Professor

PAUL DYER paul.dyer@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Fungal Biology

SIMON AVERY simon.avery@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Eukaryotic Microbiology



Abstract

Populations of genetically uniform microorganisms exhibit phenotypic heterogeneity, where individual cells have varying phenotypes. Such phenotypes include fitness-determining traits. Phenotypic heterogeneity has been linked to increased population-level fitness in laboratory studies, but its adaptive significance for wild microorganisms in the natural environment is unknown. Here, we addressed this by testing heterogeneity in yeast isolates from diverse environmental sites, each polluted with a different principal contaminant, as well as from corresponding control locations. We found that cell-to-cell heterogeneity (in resistance to the appropriate principal pollutant) was prevalent in the wild yeast isolates. Moreover, isolates with the highest heterogeneity were consistently observed in the polluted environments, indicating that heterogeneity is positively related to survival in adverse conditions in the wild. This relationship with survival was stronger than for the property of mean resistance (IC50) of an isolate. Therefore, heterogeneity could be the major determinant of microbial survival in adverse conditions. Indeed, growth assays indicated that isolates with high heterogeneities had a significant competitive advantage during stress. Analysis of yeasts after cultivation for < 500 generations additionally showed that high heterogeneity evolved as a heritable trait during stress. The results showed that environmental stress selects for wild microorganisms with high levels of phenotypic heterogeneity. © 2013 The Authors.

Citation

Holland, S. L., Reader, T., Dyer, P. S., & Avery, S. V. (2014). Phenotypic heterogeneity is a selected trait in natural yeast populations subject to environmental stress. Environmental Microbiology, 16(6), 1729-1740. https://doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.12243

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Sep 3, 2013
Publication Date 2014-06
Deposit Date Apr 16, 2014
Publicly Available Date Apr 16, 2014
Journal Environmental Microbiology
Print ISSN 1462-2912
Electronic ISSN 1462-2912
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 6
Pages 1729-1740
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.12243
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/2342
Publisher URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1462-2920.12243/full
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
Additional Information Early Online Version.

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Publisher Licence URL
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/



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