In vivo microbial coevolution favours host protection and plastic downregulation of immunity

Suzanne Ford & Kayla King
Microbiota can protect their hosts from infection. The short timescales in which microbes can evolve presents the possibility that ‘protective microbes’ can take-over from the immune system of longer-lived hosts in the coevolutionary race against pathogens. Here, we found that coevolution between a protective bacterium (Enterococcus faecalis) and a virulent pathogen (Staphylococcus aureus) within an animal population (Caenorhabditis elegans) resulted in more disease suppression than when the protective bacterium adapted to uninfected hosts. At the...
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