Natural selection on crosstalk between gene regulatory networks facilitates bacterial adaptation to novel environments

Tiffany Taylor, Matthew J. Shepherd, Robert W. Jackson, Mark W. Silby

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

At the level of the gene, mutation is the raw material for natural selection. However, at the level of the gene regulatory network (GRN), variation is revealed to selection via promiscuous regulator activity (“crosstalk”), which creates opportunities for genetic innovation that can facilitate adaptation. Many genetic and environmental features can contribute to increasing potential for crosstalk by facilitating non-cognate interactions between regulatory elements. If a novel interaction provides a fitness benefit, rewired GRNs with strengthened affinity for newly forged connections can be selected. Here, we identify factors that facilitate opportunities for crosstalk and rewiring between GRNs, consider whether features of some GRNs make them more ‘rewireable’ than others and if these features might constrain evolution towards convergent outcomes. We explore patterns from laboratory and natural microbial populations that show changes within GRNs during adaptation. Finally, we discuss the prospects and open questions in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102140
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Volume67
Early online date3 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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