Biofilms can act as plasmid reserves in the absence of plasmid specific selection

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Plasmids facilitate rapid bacterial adaptation by shuttling a wide variety of beneficial traits across microbial communities. However, under non-selective conditions, maintaining a plasmid can be costly to the host cell. Nonetheless, plasmids are ubiquitous in nature where bacteria adopt their dominant mode of life - biofilms. Here, we demonstrate that biofilms can act as spatiotemporal reserves for plasmids, allowing them to persist even under non-selective conditions. However, under these conditions, spatial stratification of plasmid-carrying cells may promote the dispersal of cells without plasmids, and biofilms may thus act as plasmid sinks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number78
Journalnpj Biofilms and Microbiomes
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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