Defensive symbioses of animals with prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms

Nat Prod Rep. 2015 Jul;32(7):904-36. doi: 10.1039/c5np00010f.


Many organisms team up with microbes for defense against predators, parasites, parasitoids, or pathogens. Here we review the described protective symbioses between animals (including marine invertebrates, nematodes, insects, and vertebrates) and bacteria, fungi, and dinoflagellates. We focus on associations where the microbial natural products mediating the protective activity have been elucidated or at least strong evidence for the role of symbiotic microbes in defense is available. In addition to providing an overview of the known defensive animal-microbe symbioses, we aim to derive general patterns on the chemistry, ecology, and evolution of such associations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria
  • Biological Evolution
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Ecology
  • Invertebrates / physiology
  • Molecular Structure
  • Symbiosis / physiology*
  • Vertebrates / physiology