Inoviridae prophage and bacterial host dynamics during diversification, succession, and Atlantic invasion of Pacific-native Vibrio parahaemolyticus

mBio. 2024 Jan 16;15(1):e0285123. doi: 10.1128/mbio.02851-23. Epub 2023 Dec 19.


An understanding of the processes that contribute to the emergence of pathogens from environmental reservoirs is critical as changing climate precipitates pathogen evolution and population expansion. Phylogeographic analysis of Vibrio parahaemolyticus hosts combined with the analysis of their Inoviridae phage resolved ambiguities of diversification dynamics which preceded successful Atlantic invasion by the epidemiologically predominant ST36 lineage. It has been established experimentally that filamentous phage can limit host recombination, but here, we show that phage loss is linked to rapid bacterial host diversification during epidemic spread in natural ecosystems alluding to a potential role for ubiquitous inoviruses in the adaptability of pathogens. This work paves the way for functional analyses to define the contribution of inoviruses in the evolutionary dynamics of environmentally transmitted pathogens.

Keywords: Vibrio; bacteriophages; evolutionary biology; microbial ecology; molecular epidemiology; population genetics.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria
  • Bacteriophages* / genetics
  • Ecosystem
  • Inoviridae
  • Prophages
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus* / genetics