Competition-cooperation mechanism between Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus based on systems mapping

Caifeng Li, Lixin Yin, Xiaoqing He, Yi Jin, Xuli Zhu, Rongling Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Interspecies interactions are a crucial driving force of species evolution. The genes of each coexisting species play a pivotal role in shaping the structure and function within the community, but how to identify them at the genome-wide level has always been challenging. Methods: In this study, we embed the Lotka-Volterra ordinary differential equations in the theory of community ecology into the systems mapping model, so that this model can not only describe how the quantitative trait loci (QTL) of a species directly affects its own phenotype, but also describe the QTL of the species how to indirectly affect the phenotype of its interacting species, and how QTL from different species affects community behavior through epistatic interactions. Results: By designing and implementing a co-culture experiment for 100 pairs of Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), we mapped 244 significant QTL combinations in the interaction process of the two bacteria using this model, including 69 QTLs from E. coli and 59 QTLs from S. aureus, respectively. Through gene annotation, we obtained 57 genes in E. coli, among which the genes with higher frequency were ypdC, nrfC, yphH, acrE, dcuS, rpnE, and ptsA, while we obtained 43 genes in S. aureus, among which the genes with higher frequency were ebh, SAOUHSC_00172, capF, gdpP, orfX, bsaA, and phnE1. Discussion: By dividing the overall growth into independent growth and interactive growth, we could estimate how QTLs modulate interspecific competition and cooperation. Based on the quantitative genetic model, we can obtain the direct genetic effect, indirect genetic effect, and genome-genome epistatic effect related to interspecific interaction genes, and then further mine the hub genes in the QTL networks, which will be particularly useful for inferring and predicting the genetic mechanisms of community dynamics and evolution. Systems mapping can provide a tool for studying the mechanism of competition and cooperation among bacteria in co-culture, and this framework can lay the foundation for a more comprehensive and systematic study of species interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1192574
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

Cite this