Prophage mediated control of higher order interactions - insights from systems approaches

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Carolin Charlotte Wendling 


Prophages, latent viral elements residing in bacterial genomes impact bacterial ecology and evolution in diverse ways. Do these prophage-mediated effects extend beyond the prophage-bacterium relationship? Here, I summarize the latest advances exploring how the impact of prophages are transmitted through multiple levels with potential impacts on ecosystem stability and functioning. The diverse effects of prophages on higher-order interactions are context-specific, ranging from contributions to global biogeochemical processes and mutualistic interactions to increased disease severity with negative impacts on ecosystem engineers and potential cascading effects for multiple species. While we have a solid understanding about the mechanisms by which prophages modulate their bacterial host at the cellular and population level, future research should take an integrative approach to quantify their effects in complex ecosystems.



Life Sciences


prophages, higher order interactions, microbial ecology


Published: 2023-03-11 12:30

Last Updated: 2023-03-11 17:30


CC-BY Attribution-No Derivatives 4.0 International

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