Mark Lyng, Johan P B Jørgensen, Morten D Schostag, Scott A Jarmusch, Diana K C Aguilar, Carlos N Lozano-Andrade, Ákos T Kovács

Competition for iron shapes metabolic antagonism between Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas marginalis

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Microbiology

Abstract Siderophores have long been implicated in sociomicrobiology as determinants of bacterial interrelations. For plant-associated genera, like Bacillus and Pseudomonas, siderophores are well known for their biocontrol functions. Here, we explored the functional role of the Bacillus subtilis siderophore bacillibactin (BB) in an antagonistic interaction with Pseudomonas marginalis. The presence of BB strongly influenced the outcome of the interaction in an iron-dependent manner. The BB producer B. subtilis restricts colony spreading of P. marginalis by repressing the transcription of histidine kinase-encoding gene gacS, thereby abolishing production of secondary metabolites such as pyoverdine and viscosin. By contrast, lack of BB restricted B. subtilis colony growth. To explore the specificity of the antagonism, we cocultured B. subtilis with a collection of fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. and found that the Bacillus–Pseudomonas interaction is conserved, expanding our understanding of the interplay between two of the most well-studied genera of soil bacteria.

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