Chemical interplay and complementary adaptative strategies toggle bacterial antagonism and co-existence

Cell Rep. 2021 Jul 27;36(4):109449. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109449.


Bacterial communities are in a continuous adaptive and evolutionary race for survival. In this work we expand our knowledge on the chemical interplay and specific mutations that modulate the transition from antagonism to co-existence between two plant-beneficial bacteria, Pseudomonas chlororaphis PCL1606 and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens FZB42. We reveal that the bacteriostatic activity of bacillaene produced by Bacillus relies on an interaction with the protein elongation factor FusA of P. chlororaphis and how mutations in this protein lead to tolerance to bacillaene and other protein translation inhibitors. Additionally, we describe how the unspecific tolerance of B. amyloliquefaciens to antimicrobials associated with mutations in the glycerol kinase GlpK is provoked by a decrease of Bacillus cell membrane permeability, among other pleiotropic responses. We conclude that nutrient specialization and mutations in basic biological functions are bacterial adaptive dynamics that lead to the coexistence of two primary competitive bacterial species rather than their mutual eradication.

Keywords: Bacillus; Pseudomonas; adaptation; antagonism; bacterial interactions; co-existence; evolution; secondary metabolites.

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

  • Adaptation, Physiological* / drug effects
  • Alleles
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacillus / drug effects
  • Bacillus / physiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Permeability
  • Pseudomonas / drug effects
  • Pseudomonas / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas / physiology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins