Imaging secondary metabolism of Streptomyces sp. Mg1 during cellular lysis and colony degradation of competing Bacillus subtilis

Sarah R. Barger, B. Chris Hoefler, Andrés Cubillos-Ruiz, William K. Russell, David H. Russell, Paul D. Straight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Soil streptomycetes are saprotrophic bacteria that secrete numerous secondary metabolites and enzymes for extracellular functions. Many streptomy-cetes produce antibiotics thought to protect vegetative mycelia from competing organisms. Here we report that an organism isolated from soil, Streptomyces sp. Mg1, actively degrades colonies and causes cellular lysis of Bacillus subtilis when the organisms are cultured together. We predicted that the inhibition and degradation of B. subtilis colonies in this competition depends upon a combination of secreted factors, including small molecule metabolites and enzymes. To begin to unravel this complex competitive phenomenon, we use a MALDI imaging mass spectrometry strategy to map the positions of metabolites secreted by both organisms. In this report, we show that Streptomyces sp. Mg1 produces the macrolide antibiotic chalcomycin A, which contributes to inhibition of B. subtilis growth in combination with other, as yet unidentified factors. We suggest that efforts to understand competitive and cooperative interactions between bacterial species benefit from assays that pair living organisms and probe the complexity of metabolic exchanges between them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-445
Number of pages11
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek, International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012



  • Antibiotics
  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Competition
  • Imaging mass spectrometry
  • Streptomyces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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