Dentigerumycin: a bacterial mediator of an ant-fungus symbiosis

Nat Chem Biol. 2009 Jun;5(6):391-3. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.159. Epub 2009 Mar 29.


Fungus-growing ants engage in mutualistic associations with both the fungus they cultivate for food and actinobacteria (Pseudonocardia spp.) that produce selective antibiotics to defend that fungus from specialized fungal parasites. We have analyzed one such system at the molecular level and found that the bacterium associated with the ant Apterostigma dentigerum produces dentigerumycin, a cyclic depsipeptide with highly modified amino acids, to selectively inhibit the associated parasitic fungus (Escovopsis sp.).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ants / physiology*
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Fungi / growth & development
  • Fungi / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Peptides, Cyclic / physiology*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Symbiosis*


  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • dentigerumycin

Associated data

  • PubChem-Substance/57288353
  • PubChem-Substance/57288354
  • PubChem-Substance/57288355
  • PubChem-Substance/57288356
  • PubChem-Substance/57288357
  • PubChem-Substance/57288358
  • PubChem-Substance/57288359
  • PubChem-Substance/57288360