The role of inter-species interactions in Salinispora specialized metabolism

Patin, NV, Floros DJ, Hughes CC, Dorrestein PC, Jensen PR.  2018.  The role of inter-species interactions in Salinispora specialized metabolism. Microbiology-Sgm. 164:946-955.

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actinomycete genus salinispora, actinomycetes, antibiotic activity, antibiotic production, chemical ecology, diversity, drug discovery, induction, marine-bacteria, mass-spectrometry, microbial interactions, microbiology, molecular networking, natural-products, secondary metabolism


Bacterial genome sequences consistently contain many more biosynthetic gene clusters encoding specialized metabolites than predicted by the compounds discovered from the respective strains. One hypothesis invoked to explain the cryptic nature of these gene clusters is that standard laboratory conditions do not provide the environmental cues needed to trigger gene expression. A potential source of such cues is other members of the bacterial community, which are logical targets for competitive interactions. In this study, we examined the effects of such interactions on specialized metabolism in the marine actinomycete Salinispora tropica. The results show that antibiotic activities and the concentration of some small molecules increase in the presence of co-occurring bacterial strains relative to monocultures. Some increases in antibiotic activity could be linked to nutrient depletion by the competitor as opposed to the production of a chemical cue. Other increases were correlated with the production of specific compounds by S. tropica. In particular, one interaction with a Vibrio sp. consistently induced antibiotic activity and was associated with parent ions that were unique to this interaction, although the associated compound could not be identified. This study provides insight into the metabolomic complexities of bacterial interactions and baseline information for future genome mining efforts.