A microbial factory for defensive kahalalides in a tripartite marine symbiosis.

TitleA microbial factory for defensive kahalalides in a tripartite marine symbiosis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsZan, J, Li, Z, Tianero, MDiarey, Davis, J, Hill, RT, Donia, MS
JournalScience
Volume364
Issue6445
Date Published2019 06 14
ISSN1095-9203
Abstract

Chemical defense against predators is widespread in natural ecosystems. Occasionally, taxonomically distant organisms share the same defense chemical. Here, we describe an unusual tripartite marine symbiosis, in which an intracellular bacterial symbiont ("Candidatus Endobryopsis kahalalidefaciens") uses a diverse array of biosynthetic enzymes to convert simple substrates into a library of complex molecules (the kahalalides) for chemical defense of the host, the alga Bryopsis sp., against predation. The kahalalides are subsequently hijacked by a third partner, the herbivorous mollusk Elysia rufescens, and employed similarly for defense. "Ca E. kahalalidefaciens" has lost many essential traits for free living and acts as a factory for kahalalide production. This interaction between a bacterium, an alga, and an animal highlights the importance of chemical defense in the evolution of complex symbioses.

DOI10.1126/science.aaw6732
Alternate JournalScience
PubMed ID31196985
Grant ListDP2 AI124441 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States