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Environ Microbiol. 2015 Jun;17(6):2099-113. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12564. Epub 2014 Aug 15.

Bacillus subtilis attachment to Aspergillus niger hyphae results in mutually altered metabolism.

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Fungal Physiology, CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Microbiology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Fungal Molecular Physiology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentations, Netherlands Genomics Initiative/Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Delf, The Netherlands.
Molecular Genetics, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Molecular and Applied Microbiology Department, Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - HKI, Jena, Germany.
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Jena, Germany.
Terrestrial Biofilms Group, Institute of Microbiology, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Jena, Germany.


Interaction between microbes affects the growth, metabolism and differentiation of members of the microbial community. While direct and indirect competition, like antagonism and nutrient consumption have a negative effect on the interacting members of the population, microbes have also evolved in nature not only to fight, but in some cases to adapt to or support each other, while increasing the fitness of the community. The presence of bacteria and fungi in soil results in various interactions including mutualism. Bacilli attach to the plant root and form complex communities in the rhizosphere. Bacillus subtilis, when grown in the presence of Aspergillus niger, interacts similarly with the fungus, by attaching and growing on the hyphae. Based on data obtained in a dual transcriptome experiment, we suggest that both fungi and bacteria alter their metabolism during this interaction. Interestingly, the transcription of genes related to the antifungal and putative antibacterial defence mechanism of B. subtilis and A. niger, respectively, are decreased upon attachment of bacteria to the mycelia. Analysis of the culture supernatant suggests that surfactin production by B. subtilis was reduced when the bacterium was co-cultivated with the fungus. Our experiments provide new insights into the interaction between a bacterium and a fungus.

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