Research Paper: Antibiotics produced by Bacillus subtilis
Bacillus subtilis antibiotics: structures, syntheses and specific functions
The endospore-forming rhizobacterium Bacillus sub- tilis – the model system for Gram-positive organisms, is able to produce more than two dozen antibiotics with an amazing variety of structures.
The produced anti-microbial active compounds include predominantly peptides that are either ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified (lantibiotics and lantibiotic-like peptides) or non-ribosomally generated, as well as a couple of non-peptidic compounds such as polyketides, an aminosugar, and a phospholipid. Here I summarize the structures of all known B. subtilis antibiotics, their biochemistry and genetic analysis of their biosynthesis.
An updated summary of well-studied antibiotic regulation pathways is given. Furthermore, current findings are resumed that show roles for distinct B. subtilis antibiotics beyond the ‘pure’ anti-microbial action: Non-ribosomally produced lipopeptides are involved in biofilm and swarming development, lantibiotics function as pheromones in quorum-sensing, and a ‘killing factor’ effectuates programmed cell death in sister cells.
A discussion of how these antibiotics may contribute to the survival of B. subtilis in its natural environment is given.