Multiple phenotypic changes associated with large-scale horizontal gene transfer

Kevin Dougherty, Brian A. Smith, Autumn F. Moore, Shannon Maitland, Chris Fanger, Rachel Murillo, David A. Baltrus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Horizontal gene transfer often leads to phenotypic changes within recipient organisms independent of any immediate evolutionary benefits. While secondary phenotypic effects of horizontal transfer (i.e., changes in growth rates) have been demonstrated and studied across a variety of systems using relatively small plasmids and phage, little is known about the magnitude or number of such costs after the transfer of larger regions. Here we describe numerous phenotypic changes that occur after a large-scale horizontal transfer event (∼1 Mb megaplasmid) within Pseudomonas stutzeri including sensitization to various stresses as well as changes in bacterial behavior. These results highlight the power of horizontal transfer to shift pleiotropic relationships and cellular networks within bacterial genomes. They also provide an important context for how secondary effects of transfer can bias evolutionary trajectories and interactions between species. Lastly, these results and system provide a foundation to investigate evolutionary consequences in real time as newly acquired regions are ameliorated and integrated into new genomic contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere102170
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 21 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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