Chitin stimulates production of the antibiotic andrimid in a Vibrio coralliilyticus strain

Environ Microbiol Rep. 2011 Oct;3(5):559-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2011.00259.x. Epub 2011 May 9.


Vibrio coralliilyticus is a putative coral pathogen in tropical oceans, but also possesses antagonistic traits. We previously reported antibacterial activity in Vibrio coralliilyticus strain S2052 based upon the antibiotic andrimid. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether V. coralliilyticus S2052 produces the antibiotic under conditions mimicking natural habitats of vibrios. S2052 synthesized andrimid with both chitin and macroalgal extracts as sole nutrient source. With chitin, the biosynthesis of metabolites other than andrimid was largely abolished, and the yield of the antibiotic per cell was twofold higher. In cultures with Artemia as live chitin model system, S2052 reached up to 10(8) cells ml(-1) , produced andrimid and showed attachment to the exoskeleton and chitinous exuviae. The metabolic focus on andrimid production with chitin indicates that the antibiotic could serve an ecophysiological function. S2052 was compared with two related V. coralliilyticus strains (LMG20984(T) and LMG10953). Despite overall similar secondary metabolomes, LMG20984(T) and LMG10953 did not produce andrimid, and their optimum biosynthetic temperature was 30 as compared with 25°C for S2052. In addition, S2052 appeared less pathogenic towards Artemia than reported for the type strain. Different physiologies of S2052 and closely related strains indicated that V. coralliilyticus subspecies may be adapted to different niches.