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Compartmentalization drives the evolution of symbiotic cooperation

Chomicki, Guillaume; Werner, Gijsbert D.A.; West, Stuart A.; Kiers, E. Toby

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Authors

Gijsbert D.A. Werner

Stuart A. West

E. Toby Kiers



Abstract

Across the tree of life, hosts have evolved mechanisms to control and mediate interactions with symbiotic partners. We suggest that the evolution of physical structures that allow hosts to spatially separate symbionts, termed compartmentalization, is a common mechanism used by hosts. Such compartmentalization allows hosts to: (i) isolate symbionts and control their reproduction; (ii) reward cooperative symbionts and punish or stop interactions with non-cooperative symbionts; and (iii) reduce direct conflict among different symbionts strains in a single host. Compartmentalization has allowed hosts to increase the benefits that they obtain from symbiotic partners across a diversity of interactions, including legumes and rhizobia, plants and fungi, squid and Vibrio, insects and nutrient provisioning bacteria, plants and insects, and the human microbiome. In cases where compartmentalization has not evolved, we ask why not. We argue that when partners interact in a competitive hierarchy, or when hosts engage in partnerships which are less costly, compartmentalization is less likely to evolve. We conclude that compartmentalization is key to understanding the evolution of symbiotic cooperation.

Citation

Chomicki, G., Werner, G. D., West, S. A., & Kiers, E. T. (2020). Compartmentalization drives the evolution of symbiotic cooperation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 375(1808), Article 20190602. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0602

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 16, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 10, 2020
Publication Date 2020-09
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 20, 2020
Journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Print ISSN 0962-8436
Electronic ISSN 1471-2970
Publisher The Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 375
Issue 1808
Article Number 20190602
DOI https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0602

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