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Gold biomineralization by a metallophore from a gold-associated microbe


Microorganisms produce and secrete secondary metabolites to assist in their survival. We report that the gold resident bacterium Delftia acidovorans produces a secondary metabolite that protects from soluble gold through the generation of solid gold forms. This finding is the first demonstration that a secreted metabolite can protect against toxic gold and cause gold biomineralization.

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Figure 1: Delftia acidovorans produces a nonribosomal peptide that creates gold nanoparticles.
Figure 2: Delftibactin detoxifies soluble gold and enables growth in toxic AuCl3 concentrations.
Figure 3: Gold complexation by delftibactin leads to the creation of nontoxic solid gold particles.

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This work was funded through Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada Discovery grants (RGPIN 371576-2009; 101997-2006), an NSERC Strategic grant (STPGP385235-09) and a Canadian Foundation for Innovation grant (2010M00022). M.A.W. is funded through a Canadian Institutes of Health (CIHR) Doctoral Research Award. N.A.M. is funded by a CIHR New Investigator Award.

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C.W.J. isolated delftibactins, constructed the genetically modified strain, performed gold experiments and contributed to study design. M.A.W. isolated delftibactins, performed gold experiments and contributed to study design. X.L. performed structural analysis. A.I. performed structural and MS/MS analysis and isolated delftibactin B. J.S. obtained transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images. G.S. performed TEM image analysis. N.A.M. contributed to study design and wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Nathan A Magarvey.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Johnston, C., Wyatt, M., Li, X. et al. Gold biomineralization by a metallophore from a gold-associated microbe. Nat Chem Biol 9, 241–243 (2013).

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