Deciphering the cues that stimulate microorganisms to produce their full secondary metabolic potential promises to speed up the discovery of novel drugs. Ecology-relevant conditions, including carbon-source(s) and microbial interactions, are important effectors of secondary metabolite production. Vice versa, secondary metabolites are important mediators in microbial interactions, although their exact natural functions are not always completely understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of microbial interactions and in-culture produced antibiotics on the production of secondary metabolites by Vibrio coralliilyticus and Photobacterium galatheae, two co-occurring marine Vibrionaceae. In co-culture, production of andrimid by V. coralliilyticus and holomycin by P. galatheae, were, compared to monocultures, increased 4.3 and 2.7 fold respectively. Co-cultures with the antibiotic deficient mutant strains (andrimid- and holomycin-) did not reveal a significant role for the competitor's antibiotic as stimulator of own secondary metabolite production. Furthermore, we observed that V. coralliilyticus detoxifies holomycin by sulphur-methylation. Results presented here indicate that ecological competition in Vibrionaceae is mediated by, and a cue for, antibiotic secondary metabolite production.
- Secondary metabolites
- Microbe-microbe interactions