Inducible Antibacterial Activity in the Bacillales by Triphenyl Tetrazolium Chloride
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The world is in the midst of an antimicrobial resistance crisis, driving a need to discover novel antibiotic substances. Using chemical cues as inducers to unveil a microorganism’s full metabolic potential is considered a successful strategy. To this end, we investigated an inducible antagonistic behavior in multiple isolates of the order Bacillales, where large inhibition zones were produced against Ralstonia solanacearum only when grown in the presence of the indicator triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC). This bioactivity was produced in a TTC-dose dependent manner. Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus sp. isolates were also inhibited by Bacillus sp. strains in TTC presence, to a lesser extent. Knockout mutants and transcriptomic analysis of B. subtilis NCIB 3610 cells revealed that genes from the L-histidine biosynthetic pathway, the purine, pyrimidine de novo synthesis and salvage and interconversion routes, were significantly upregulated. Chemical space studied through metabolomic analysis, showed increased presence of nitrogenous compounds in extracts from induced bacteria. The metabolites orotic acid and L-phenylalaninamide were tested against R. solanacearum, E. coli, Staphylococcus sp. and B. subtilis, and exhibited activity against pathogens only in the presence of TTC, suggesting a biotransformation of nitrogenous compounds in Bacillus sp. cells as the plausible cause of the inducible antagonistic behavior. © 2020, The Author(s).
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