The ribosomally synthesized and posttranslationally modified peptides (RiPPs), also called ribosomal peptide natural products (RPNPs), form a growing superfamily of natural products that are produced by many different organisms and particularly by bacteria. They are derived from precursor polypeptides whose modification by various dedicated enzymes helps to establish a vast array of chemical motifs. RiPPs have attracted much interest as a source of potential therapeutic agents, and in particular as alternatives to conventional antibiotics to address the bacterial resistance crisis. However, their ecological roles in nature are poorly understood and explored. The present review describes major RiPP actors in competition within microbial communities, the main ecological and physiological functions currently evidenced for RiPPs, and the microbial ecosystems that are the sites for these functions. We envision that the study of RiPPs may lead to discoveries of new biological functions and highlight that a better knowledge of how bacterial RiPPs mediate inter-/intraspecies and interkingdom interactions will hold promise for devising alternative strategies in antibiotic development.
Keywords: antimicrobial peptide (AMP); bacteria; bacterial communication; bacteriocin; biofilm; ecological strategies; microbial competition; natural product; ribosomal peptide natural product (RPNP); ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide (RiPP).
© 2020 Li and Rebuffat.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article.
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