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Applied and Environmental Microbiology


Over the last 4 decades, the rate of discovery of novel antibiotics has decreased drastically, ending the era of fortuitous antibiotic discovery. A better understanding of the biology of bacteriogenic toxins potentially helps to prospect for new antibiotics. To initiate this line of research, we quantified antagonists from two different sites at two different depths of soil and found the relative number of antagonists to correlate with the bacterial load and carbon-to-nitrogen (C/N) ratio of the soil. Consecutive studies show the importance of antagonist interactions between soil isolates and the lack of a predicted role for nutrient availability and, therefore, support an in situ role in offense for the production of toxins in environments of high bacterial loads. In addition, the production of extracellular DNAses (exDNases) and the ability to antagonize correlate strongly. Using an in domum-developed probabilistic cellular automaton model, we studied the consequences of exDNase production for both coexistence and diversity within a dynamic equilibrium. Our model demonstrates that exDNase-producing isolates involved in amensal interactions act to stabilize a community, leading to increased coexistence within a competitor-sensing interference competition environment. Our results signify that the environmental and biological cues that control natural-product formation are important for understanding antagonism and community dynamics, structure, and function, permitting the development of directed searches and the use of these insights for drug discovery.


competition models, exDNases, cellular automaton, coexistence, secondary metabolites, antibiotics, soil, antagonism, soil microbiology







Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


© 2022 Ogawa et al. This is an open-access article.


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