Bacteriocin-Mediated Competitive Interactions of Bacterial Populations and Communities

Authors

MA Riley

Abstract

Explaining the coexistence of competing species is a major challenge in community ecology. In bacterial systems, competition is often driven by the production of bacteriocins; narrow spectrum proteinaceous toxins that serve to kill closely related species providing the producer better access to limited resources. Bacteriocin producers have been shown to competitively exclude sensitive, nonproducing strains. However, the interaction dynamics between bacteriocin producers, each lethal to its competitor, are largely unknown. Several recent studies have revealed some of the complexity of these interactions, employing a suite of in vitro, in vivo, and in silico bacterial model systems. This chapter describes the current state of knowledge regarding the population and community ecology of this potent family of toxins.

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