Defining the Expression, Production, and Signaling Roles of Specialized Metabolites during Bacillus subtilis Differentiation
AuthorsSchoenborn, Alexi A
Yannarell, Sarah M
Wallace, E Diane
Weinstein, Ilon C
Shank, Elizabeth A
UMass Chan AffiliationsSystems Biology
Document TypeJournal Article
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractBacterial specialized (or secondary) metabolites are structurally diverse molecules that mediate intra- and interspecies interactions by altering growth and cellular physiology and differentiation. Bacillus subtilis, a Gram-positive model bacterium commonly used to study biofilm formation and sporulation, has the capacity to produce more than 10 specialized metabolites. Some of these B. subtilis specialized metabolites have been investigated for their role in facilitating cellular differentiation, but only rarely has the behavior of multiple metabolites been simultaneously investigated. In this study, we explored the interconnectivity of differentiation (biofilm and sporulation) and specialized metabolites in B. subtilis. Specifically, we interrogated how development influences specialized metabolites and vice versa. Using the sporulation-inducing medium DSM, we found that the majority of the specialized metabolites examined are expressed and produced during biofilm formation and sporulation. Additionally, we found that six of these metabolites (surfactin, ComX, bacillibactin, bacilysin, subtilosin A, and plipastatin) are necessary signaling molecules for proper progression of B. subtilis differentiation. This study further supports the growing body of work demonstrating that specialized metabolites have essential physiological functions as cell-cell communication signals in bacteria. IMPORTANCE Bacterially produced specialized metabolites are frequently studied for their potential use as antibiotics and antifungals. However, a growing body of work has suggested that the antagonistic potential of specialized metabolites is not their only function. Here, using Bacillus subtilis as our model bacterium, we demonstrated that developmental processes such as biofilm formation and sporulation are tightly linked to specialized metabolite gene expression and production. Additionally, under our differentiation-inducing conditions, six out of the nine specialized metabolites investigated behave as intraspecific signals that impact B. subtilis physiology and influence biofilm formation and sporulation. Our work supports the viewpoint that specialized metabolites have a clear role as cell-cell signaling molecules within differentiated populations of bacteria.
SourceSchoenborn AA, Yannarell SM, Wallace ED, Clapper H, Weinstein IC, Shank EA. Defining the Expression, Production, and Signaling Roles of Specialized Metabolites during Bacillus subtilis Differentiation. J Bacteriol. 2021 Oct 25;203(22):e0033721. doi: 10.1128/JB.00337-21. Epub 2021 Aug 30. PMID: 34460312; PMCID: PMC8544424.
Permanent Link to this Itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14038/51657