A1 Journal article (refereed)
The effect of a temperature‐sensitive prophage on the evolution of virulence in an opportunistic bacterial pathogen (2022)

Bruneaux, M., Ashrafi, R., Kronholm, I., Laanto, E., Örmälä‐Odegrip, A., Galarza, J. A., Chen, Z., Kubendran, S. M., & Ketola, T. (2022). The effect of a temperature‐sensitive prophage on the evolution of virulence in an opportunistic bacterial pathogen. Molecular Ecology, 31(20), 5402-5418. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16638

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsBruneaux, Matthieu; Ashrafi, Roghaieh; Kronholm, Ilkka; Laanto, Elina; Örmälä‐Odegrip, Anni‐Maria; Galarza, Juan A.; Chen, Zihan; Kubendran, Sumathi Mruthyunjay; Ketola, Tarmo

Journal or seriesMolecular Ecology



Publication year2022

Publication date02/08/2022


Issue number20

Pages range5402-5418


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/83536

Web address of parallel published publication (pre-print)https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/850248v3


Viruses are key actors of ecosystems and have major impacts on global biogeochemical cycles. Prophages deserve particular attention as they are ubiquitous in bacterial genomes and can enter a lytic cycle when triggered by environmental conditions. We explored how temperature affects the interactions between prophages and other biological levels by using an opportunistic pathogen, the bacterium Serratia marcescens, that harbours several prophages and that had undergone an evolution experiment under several temperature regimes. We found that the release of one of the prophages was temperature-sensitive and malleable to evolutionary changes. We further discovered that the virulence of the bacterium in an insect model also evolved and was positively correlated with phage release rates. We determined through analysis of genetic and epigenetic data that changes in the bacterial outer cell wall structure possibly explain this phenomenon. We hypothezise that the temperature-dependent phage release rate acted as a selection pressure on S. marcescens and that it resulted in modified bacterial virulence in the insect host. Our study system illustrates how viruses can mediate the inuence of abiotic environmental changes to other biological levels and thus be involved in ecosystem feedback loops.

Keywordsecosystems (ecology)virusesbacteriophagespathogenstemperaturebiological effectsepigenetics

Free keywordsprophage induction; epigenetics; experimental evolution; opportunistic pathogen

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2024-30-04 at 18:06