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Symbiotic streptomycetes provide antibiotic combination prophylaxis for wasp offspring

Nature Chemical Biology volume 6, pages 261263 (2010) | Download Citation

Abstract

Beewolf digger wasps cultivate specific symbiotic bacteria (Streptomyces spp.) that are incorporated into the larval cocoon for protection against pathogens. We identified the molecular basis of this protective symbiosis in the natural context and demonstrate that the bacteria produce a 'cocktail' of nine antibiotic substances. The complementary action of all symbiont-produced antibiotics confers a potent antimicrobial defense for the wasp larvae that parallels the 'combination prophylaxis' known from human medicine.

  • Compound C11H7ClN2O

    Streptochlorin

  • Compound C25H37NO4

    Piericidin A1

  • Compound C26H39NO4

    Piericidin B1

  • Compound C31H47NO9

    Glucopiericidin A

  • Compound C26H39NO4

    Piericidin A5

  • Compound C25H37NO5

    Piericidin C1

  • Compound C24H35NO4

    9'-Demethyl-piericidin A1

  • Compound C27H41NO4

    Piericidin B5

  • Compound C28H41NO4

    Piericidin IT-143-B

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge financial support from the Max Planck Society (J.K., B.S., R.K.M. and A.S.), the German Research Foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (J.K., M.K. and E.S.), the Volkswagen Foundation (M.K.), the International Leibniz Research School for Microbial and Biomolecular Interactions (M.-G.S. and C.H.) and the Jena School for Microbial Communication (M.-G.S. and C.H.). We thank K. Roeser-Mueller, T. Engl and K. Angermeier (all at the University of Regensburg) for providing beewolf cocoons; J. Doubský (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology) for the camalexin standard; and J. Seger for valuable comments on the manuscript.

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Author notes

    • Johannes Kroiss
    •  & Martin Kaltenpoth

    Present address: Research Group Insect Symbiosis, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany.

Affiliations

  1. Research Group Mass Spectrometry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany.

    • Johannes Kroiss
    • , Ravi Kumar Maddula
    •  & Aleš Svatoš
  2. Department of Zoology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.

    • Martin Kaltenpoth
    •  & Erhard Strohm
  3. Research Group Biosynthesis/NMR, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany.

    • Bernd Schneider
  4. Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (Hans Knöll Institute), Jena, Germany.

    • Maria-Gabriele Schwinger
    •  & Christian Hertweck

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Contributions

J.K., A.S. and M.K. conceived of the study. J.K. and A.S. isolated, identified and quantified the antibiotic substances and performed the imaging mass spectrometry. J.K., A.S., M.K. and E.S. wrote the manuscript. B.S. carried out the NMR experiments. M.-G.S. and C.H. performed the biological activity experiments. R.K.M. conducted the MS-MS experiments. M.K. and E.S. carried out the GC-MS experiments.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Martin Kaltenpoth or Aleš Svatoš.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nchembio.331

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