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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2015 Jul;91(7). pii: fiv080. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiv080. Epub 2015 Jul 15.

Growth of desferrioxamine-deficient Streptomyces mutants through xenosiderophore piracy of airborne fungal contaminations.

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Centre for Protein Engineering, University of Liège, Institut de Chimie B6a, B-4000 Liège, Belgium.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, University Hospital of Liège, B-4000 Liège, Belgium.
Walloon Centre for Industrial Biology, University of Liège/Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Gembloux B-5030, Belgium.
Centre for Protein Engineering, University of Liège, Institut de Chimie B6a, B-4000 Liège, Belgium


Due to the necessity of iron for housekeeping functions, nutrition, morphogenesis and secondary metabolite production, siderophore piracy could be a key strategy in soil and substrate colonization by microorganisms. Here we report that mutants of bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor unable to produce desferrioxamine siderophores could recover growth when the plates were contaminated by indoor air spores of a Penicillium species and Engyodontium album. UPLC-ESI-MS analysis revealed that the HPLC fractions with the extracellular 'resuscitation' factors of the Penicillium isolate were only those that contained siderophores, i.e. Fe-dimerum acid, ferrichrome, fusarinine C and coprogen. The restored growth of the Streptomyces mutants devoid of desferrioxamine is most likely mediated through xenosiderophore uptake as the cultivability depends on the gene encoding the ABC-transporter-associated DesE siderophore-binding protein. That a filamentous fungus allows the growth of desferrioxamine non-producing Streptomyces in cocultures confirms that xenosiderophore piracy plays a vital role in nutritional interactions between these taxonomically unrelated filamentous microorganisms.


commensalism; fungi–bacteria interactions; interkingdom interactions; iron utilization; secondary metabolism; siderophore piracy

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