Modelling the spatiotemporal complexity of interactions between pathogenic bacteria and a phage with a temperature-dependent life cycle switch
journal contributionposted on 11.05.2021, 10:27 by HI Egilmez, AY Morozov, EE Galyov
We apply mathematical modelling to explore bacteria-phage interaction mediated by condition-dependent lysogeny, where the type of the phage infection cycle (lytic or lysogenic) is determined by the ambient temperature. In a natural environment, daily and seasonal variations of the temperature cause a frequent switch between the two infection scenarios, making the bacteria-phage interaction with condition-dependent lysogeny highly complex. As a case study, we explore the natural control of the pathogenic bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei by its dominant phage. B. pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, which is among the most fatal diseases in Southeast Asia and across the world. We assess the spatial aspect of B. pseudomallei-phage interactions in soil, which has been so far overlooked in the literature, using the reaction-diffusion PDE-based framework with external forcing through daily and seasonal parameter variation. Through extensive computer simulations for realistic biological parameters, we obtain results suggesting that phages may regulate B. pseudomallei numbers across seasons in endemic areas, and that the abundance of highly pathogenic phage-free bacteria shows a clear annual cycle. The model predicts particularly dangerous soil layers characterised by high pathogen densities. Our findings can potentially help refine melioidosis prevention and monitoring practices.