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Bioessays. 2011 Jan;33(1):43-51. doi: 10.1002/bies.201000071.

The phage-host arms race: shaping the evolution of microbes.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

Abstract

Bacteria, the most abundant organisms on the planet, are outnumbered by a factor of 10 to 1 by phages that infect them. Faced with the rapid evolution and turnover of phage particles, bacteria have evolved various mechanisms to evade phage infection and killing, leading to an evolutionary arms race. The extensive co-evolution of both phage and host has resulted in considerable diversity on the part of both bacterial and phage defensive and offensive strategies. Here, we discuss the unique and common features of phage resistance mechanisms and their role in global biodiversity. The commonalities between defense mechanisms suggest avenues for the discovery of novel forms of these mechanisms based on their evolutionary traits.

PMID:
20979102
PMCID:
PMC3274958
DOI:
10.1002/bies.201000071
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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