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Chemical defense in marine biofilm bacteria

Chemical defense in marine biofilm bacteria
Chemical defense in marine biofilm bacteria
Many plants and animals are defended from predation or herbivory by inhibitory secondary metabolites, which in the marine environment are very common among sessile organisms. Among bacteria, where there is the greatest metabolic potential, little is known about chemical defenses against bacterivorous consumers. An emerging hypothesis is that sessile bacterial communities organized as biofilms serve as bacterial refuge from predation. By testing growth and survival of two common bacterivorous nanoflagellates, we find evidence that chemically-mediated resistance against protozoan predators is common among biofilm populations in a diverse set of marine bacteria. Using bioassay-guided chemical and genetic analysis, we identified one of the most effective antiprotozoal compounds as violacein, an alkaloid that we demonstrate is produced predominately within biofilm cells. Nanomolar concentrations of violacein inhibit protozoan feeding by inducing a conserved eukaryotic cell death program. Such biofilm-specific chemical defenses could contribute to the successful persistence of biofilm bacteria in various environments and provide the ecological and evolutionary context for a number of eukaryote-targeting bacterial metabolites. Predators are potent agents of mortality and natural selection in biological communities. Plants and animals synthesize a broad range of secondary metabolites that are deterrent or toxic to their consumers, thus functioning as defense compounds. Such chemicals are often common in sessile eukaryotic organisms such as marine sponges and corals, seaweeds and terrestrial plants [1-4], which lack escape or avoidance mechanisms. However, chemically-mediated antipredator defenses of bacteria and their ecological and evolution ary consequences remain a greatly understudied field. Particularly, the increasing number of biologically active compounds isolated from marine bacteria raises the question of their ecological functions [5].
120-131
Apple Academic Press Inc
Matz, C.
0e171884-9df2-4846-bdb2-6f18518bf096
Webb, Jeremy
ec0a5c4e-86cc-4ae9-b390-7298f5d65f8d
Schupp, Peter J.
ff08338b-106f-4b88-adfd-e2346f8fb21d
Phang, Shui Yen
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Penesyan, Anahit
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Egan, Suhelen
ed013d4f-f8c5-40b2-b3e1-caec2a6fb1fc
Steinberg, Peter
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Kjelleberg, Staffan
043b66b5-130c-42f2-99b3-ec3eecf3248e
Trimm, Harold
Hunter III, William
Matz, C.
0e171884-9df2-4846-bdb2-6f18518bf096
Webb, Jeremy
ec0a5c4e-86cc-4ae9-b390-7298f5d65f8d
Schupp, Peter J.
ff08338b-106f-4b88-adfd-e2346f8fb21d
Phang, Shui Yen
7c3b6ca6-426d-4e08-bdca-d07befbaeeea
Penesyan, Anahit
a63788b7-f15c-4694-9630-01bb940005a1
Egan, Suhelen
ed013d4f-f8c5-40b2-b3e1-caec2a6fb1fc
Steinberg, Peter
6b282c81-18fb-43f6-8e29-e4273a1e6eaa
Kjelleberg, Staffan
043b66b5-130c-42f2-99b3-ec3eecf3248e
Trimm, Harold
Hunter III, William

Matz, C., Webb, Jeremy, Schupp, Peter J., Phang, Shui Yen, Penesyan, Anahit, Egan, Suhelen, Steinberg, Peter and Kjelleberg, Staffan (2011) Chemical defense in marine biofilm bacteria. In, Trimm, Harold and Hunter III, William (eds.) Environmental Chemistry: New Techniques and Data. Toronto; New York. Apple Academic Press Inc, pp. 120-131.

Record type: Book Section

Abstract

Many plants and animals are defended from predation or herbivory by inhibitory secondary metabolites, which in the marine environment are very common among sessile organisms. Among bacteria, where there is the greatest metabolic potential, little is known about chemical defenses against bacterivorous consumers. An emerging hypothesis is that sessile bacterial communities organized as biofilms serve as bacterial refuge from predation. By testing growth and survival of two common bacterivorous nanoflagellates, we find evidence that chemically-mediated resistance against protozoan predators is common among biofilm populations in a diverse set of marine bacteria. Using bioassay-guided chemical and genetic analysis, we identified one of the most effective antiprotozoal compounds as violacein, an alkaloid that we demonstrate is produced predominately within biofilm cells. Nanomolar concentrations of violacein inhibit protozoan feeding by inducing a conserved eukaryotic cell death program. Such biofilm-specific chemical defenses could contribute to the successful persistence of biofilm bacteria in various environments and provide the ecological and evolutionary context for a number of eukaryote-targeting bacterial metabolites. Predators are potent agents of mortality and natural selection in biological communities. Plants and animals synthesize a broad range of secondary metabolites that are deterrent or toxic to their consumers, thus functioning as defense compounds. Such chemicals are often common in sessile eukaryotic organisms such as marine sponges and corals, seaweeds and terrestrial plants [1-4], which lack escape or avoidance mechanisms. However, chemically-mediated antipredator defenses of bacteria and their ecological and evolution ary consequences remain a greatly understudied field. Particularly, the increasing number of biologically active compounds isolated from marine bacteria raises the question of their ecological functions [5].

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More information

Published date: 1 January 2011

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 440593
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/440593
PURE UUID: 49fc4b08-c1db-49b6-b0c4-f2d001bb401b
ORCID for Jeremy Webb: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2068-8589

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 May 2020 16:30
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:08

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Contributors

Author: C. Matz
Author: Jeremy Webb ORCID iD
Author: Peter J. Schupp
Author: Shui Yen Phang
Author: Anahit Penesyan
Author: Suhelen Egan
Author: Peter Steinberg
Author: Staffan Kjelleberg
Editor: Harold Trimm
Editor: William Hunter III

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