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Specific inactivation of an antifungal bacterial siderophore by a fungal plant pathogen


Bacteria and fungi secrete many natural products that inhibit each other’s growth and development. The dynamic changes in secreted metabolites that occur during interactions between bacteria and fungi are complicated. Pyochelin is a siderophore produced by many Pseudomonas and Burkholderia species that induces systemic resistance in plants and has been identified as an antifungal agent. Through imaging mass spectrometry and metabolomics analysis, we found that Phellinus noxius, a plant pathogen, can modify pyochelin and ent-pyochelin to an esterification product, resulting in reduced iron-chelation and loss of antifungal activity. We also observed that dehydroergosterol peroxide, the fungal metabolite, is only accumulated in the presence of pyochelin produced through bacteria–fungi interactions. For the first time, we show the fungal transformation of pyochelin in the microbial interaction. Our findings highlight the importance of understanding the dynamic changes of metabolites in microbial interactions and their influences on microbial communities.

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Fig. 1: Metabolic changes in the bacteria–fungi interaction.
Fig. 2: Pyochelin inhibition of mycelial growth of Phellinus noxius 2252 is inversely associated with iron concentration.


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This research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan (MOST 104-2321-B-001-060-MY3). LC-MS data were collected in the Metabolomics Core Facility of the Instrument Center, Academia Sinica. NMR data were collected in the High Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center, Academia Sinica. Burkholderia cenocepacia 869T2 was generously provided by Prof. Chieh-Chen Huang’s Lab (National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan) and Phellinus noxius strain 2252 by Prof. Chia-Lin Chung’s Lab (National Taiwan University, Taiwan). 9.11-Dehydroergosterol peroxide and ergosterol peroxide were kindly provided by Dr. Ming-Ren Cheng (Bioresource Collection and Research Center, Taiwan). The molecular docking analysis was supported by Dr. Ying-Ta Wu, Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica.

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Correspondence to Yu-Liang Yang.

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Ho, YN., Hoo, S.Y., Wang, BW. et al. Specific inactivation of an antifungal bacterial siderophore by a fungal plant pathogen. ISME J 15, 1858–1861 (2021).

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