Author(s): Stein T
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Abstract The endospore-forming rhizobacterium Bacillus subtilis- the model system for Gram-positive organisms, is able to produce more than two dozen antibiotics with an amazing variety of structures. The produced anti-microbial active compounds include predominantly peptides that are either ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified (lantibiotics and lantibiotic-like peptides) or non-ribosomally generated, as well as a couple of non-peptidic compounds such as polyketides, an aminosugar, and a phospholipid. Here I summarize the structures of all known B. subtilis antibiotics, their biochemistry and genetic analysis of their biosyntheses. An updated summary of well-studied antibiotic regulation pathways is given. Furthermore, current findings are resumed that show roles for distinct B. subtilis antibiotics beyond the "pure" anti-microbial action: Non-ribosomally produced lipopeptides are involved in biofilm and swarming development, lantibiotics function as pheromones in quorum-sensing, and a "killing factor" effectuates programmed cell death in sister cells. A discussion of how these antibiotics may contribute to the survival of B. subtilis in its natural environment is given.
This article was published in Mol Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Plant Pathology & Microbiology