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Data from: Plasmid and clonal interference during post-horizontal gene transfer evolution

Cite this dataset

Bedhomme, Stephanie; Perez-Pantoja, Danilo; Bravo, Ignacio G. (2017). Data from: Plasmid and clonal interference during post-horizontal gene transfer evolution [Dataset]. Dryad.


Plasmids are nucleic acid molecules that can drive their own replication in a living cell. They can be transmitted horizontally and can thrive in the host cell to high copy numbers. Plasmid replication and gene expression consume cellular resources and cells carrying plasmids incur fitness costs. But many plasmids carry genes that can be beneficial under certain conditions, allowing the cell to endure in the presence of antibiotics, toxins, competitors or parasites. Horizontal transfer of plasmid-encoded genes can thus instantaneously confer differential adaptation to local or transient selection conditions. This conflict between cellular fitness and plasmid spread sets the scene for multilevel selection processes. We have engineered a system to study the short term evolutionary impact of different synonymous versions of a plasmid-encoded antibiotic resistance gene. Applying experimental evolution under different selection conditions and deep sequencing allowed us to show rapid local adaptation to the presence of antibiotic and to the specific version of the resistance gene transferred. We describe the presence of clonal interference at two different levels: at the within-cell level, because a single cell can carry several plasmids, and at the between-cell level, because a bacterial population may contain several clones carrying different plasmids and displaying different fitness in the presence|absence of antibiotic. Understanding the within-cell and between-cell dynamics of plasmids after horizontal gene transfer is essential to unravel the dense network of mobile elements underlying the worldwide threat to public health of antibiotic resistance.

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