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Viruses' Life History: Towards a Mechanistic Basis of a Trade-Off between Survival and Reproduction among Phages.

Abstract : Life history theory accounts for variations in many traits involved in the reproduction and survival of living organisms, by determining the constraints leading to trade-offs among these different traits. The main life history traits of phages-viruses that infect bacteria-are the multiplication rate in the host, the survivorship of virions in the external environment, and their mode of transmission. By comparing life history traits of 16 phages infecting the bacteria Escherichia coli, we show that their mortality rate is constant with time and negatively correlated to their multiplication rate in the bacterial host. Even though these viruses do not age, this result is in line with the trade-off between survival and reproduction previously observed in numerous aging organisms. Furthermore, a multiple regression shows that the combined effects of two physical parameters, namely, the capsid thickness and the density of the packaged genome, account for 82% of the variation in the mortality rate. The correlations between life history traits and physical characteristics of virions may provide a mechanistic explanation of this trade-off. The fact that this trade-off is present in this very simple biological situation suggests that it might be a fundamental property of evolving entities produced under constraints. Moreover, such a positive correlation between mortality and multiplication reveals an underexplored trade-off in host-parasite interactions.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-00080125
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 4:22:28 PM
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Marianne de Paepe, François Taddei. Viruses' Life History: Towards a Mechanistic Basis of a Trade-Off between Survival and Reproduction among Phages.. PLoS Biology, Public Library of Science, 2006, 4 (7), pp.e193. ⟨10.1371/journal.pbio.0040193⟩. ⟨inserm-00080125⟩

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