Data from: Plastic responses to competition: does bacteriocin production increase in the presence of nonself competitors?
Bhattacharya, Amrita; Pak, Hannah Tae‐Young; Bashey, Farrah; Pak, Hannah Tae-Young (2019), Data from: Plastic responses to competition: does bacteriocin production increase in the presence of nonself competitors?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n0j5b19
Anticompetitor traits such as the production of allelopathic toxins can confer significant competitive benefits but are often costly to produce. Evolution of these traits may be facilitated by environment‐specific induction; however, the extent to which costly anticompetitor traits are induced by competitors is not well explored. Here, we addressed this question using bacteriocins, which are highly specific, proteinaceous anticompetitor toxins, produced by most lineages of bacteria and archaea. We tested the prediction that bacteriocin production is phenotypically plastic and induced by the presence of competitors by examining bacteriocin production in the presence and absence of nonself competitors over the course of growth of a producing strain. Our results show that bacteriocin production is detectable only at high cell densities, when competition for resources is high. However, the amount of bacteriocin activity was not significantly different in the presence vs. the absence of nonself competitors. These results suggest that bacteriocin production is either (a) canalized, constitutively produced by a fixed frequency of cells in the population or (b) induced by generic cues of competition, rather than specific self/nonself discrimination. Such a nonspecific response to competition could be favored in the natural environment where competition is ubiquitous.
National Science Foundation, Award: NSF DEB-0919015