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Open AccessArticle

Evolutionary Game between Commensal and Pathogenic Microbes in Intestinal Microbiota

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Material Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Karl Tuyls and Simon Parsons
Games 2016, 7(3), 26;
Received: 27 April 2016 / Revised: 6 September 2016 / Accepted: 7 September 2016 / Published: 12 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real World Applications of Game Theory)
The human intestinal microbiota plays a fundamental role in host health and is associated with many diseases when the homeostasis is disturbed. Although recent achievements in metagenomic sequencing have begun to reveal the variety of microbial composition associated with healthy and disease states, species-specific interactions and systematic dynamics still pose a great challenge to resolve the complexity of human microbiota. Using Clostridium difficile infection in human intestinal microbiota as an example, we apply evolutionary game theory to gain a fundamental understanding of the phenotypic variability and dynamic progression of microbiota. Here, microbiota dynamics are determined by the frequency-dependent fitness of each phenotypic population in the presence of the others. More specifically, the fitness is a function of phenotypic composition of the microbiota. We show how the phenotypic variability of microbiota can be explained by game theoretical approach. Knowledge of this study provides a new perspective in administrating antibiotic when dealing with pathogenic invasion. Instead of solely targeting to pathogens, therapies should aim at the whole ecosystem by reducing the fitness of pathogens compared to that of commensal microbes. In this case, the system will eradicate the pathogens by itself. View Full-Text
Keywords: evolutionary game theory; microbiota; commensal bacteria; pathogenic bacteria evolutionary game theory; microbiota; commensal bacteria; pathogenic bacteria
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Wu, A.; Ross, D. Evolutionary Game between Commensal and Pathogenic Microbes in Intestinal Microbiota. Games 2016, 7, 26.

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