Surfactin Facilitates Horizontal Gene Transfer in Bacillus subtilis

Tjasa Danevcic*, Anna Dragos, Mihael Spacapan, Polonca Stefanic, Iztok Dogsa, Ines Mandic-Mulec

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Genetic competence for the uptake and integration of extracellular DNA is a key process in horizontal gene transfer (HGT), one of the most powerful forces driving the evolution of bacteria. In several species, development of genetic competence is coupled with cell lysis. Using Bacillus subtilis as a model bacterium, we studied the role of surfactin, a powerful biosurfactant and antimicrobial lipopeptide, in genetic transformation. We showed that surfactin itself promotes cell lysis and DNA release, thereby promoting HGT. These results, therefore, provide evidence for a fundamental mechanism involved in HGT and significantly increase our understanding of the spreading of antibiotic resistance genes and diversification of microbial communities in the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number657407
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume12
Number of pages8
ISSN1664-302X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Quorum sensing
  • Competence
  • Surfactin
  • DNA exchange
  • Extracellular DNA
  • Cell lysis
  • Horizontal gene transfer

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