A marine-derived fatty acid targets the cell membrane of Gram-positive bacteria.
Journal of bacteriology
The rapid evolution of antibiotic resistance is shrinking our stockpile of commercially available antibiotics. Therefore, new antimicrobials with novel mechanisms of action (MoAs) are desperately needed. The free fatty acid, (Z)-13-methyltetra-4-decenoic acid ((Z)-4C-14:1), isolated from a marine sediment bacterium Olleya marilimosa, displays strong inhibition of Gram-positive pathogens with minimal cytotoxic effects to mammalian cells. Here, we applied a combination of experimental approaches to identify the mechanism by which (Z)-4C-14:1 kills the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis. Using quick and cost-effective bacterial cytological profiling (BCP), we established the cytological signatures of 17 antibiotics representing 6 general classes of antibiotic MoAs. We used BCP to demonstrate that while (Z)-4C-14:1-treated B. subtilis cells display unique morphological features compared to other antibiotic classes, (Z)-4C-14:1 mode of action shares substantial overlap with the fast-acting antibiotic colistin specifically in Gram-positive cells and daptomycin, both of which target bacterial permeability by destroying the cell membrane and causing extensive cell surface alterations. To further determine if the cell membrane of B. subtilis was the target of (Z)-4C-14:1, we used cell membrane- and peptidoglycan-specific diagnostic stains to investigate bacterial permeability. Our results indicate that (Z)-4C-14:1 destabilizes the cell membrane by pore formation in Gram-positive bacteria and emphasize the importance of mining the marine environment for naturally occurring antibiotics.IMPORTANCEWith the lack of new antibiotics in the drug discovery pipeline, coupled with accelerated evolution of antibiotic resistance, new sources of antibiotics that target pathogens of clinical importance are paramount. Here, we use bacterial cytological profiling to identify the mechanism of action of the monounsaturated fatty acid (Z)-13-methyltetra-4-decenoic acid isolated from the marine bacterium Olleya marilimosa with antibacterial effects against Gram-positive bacteria. The fatty acid antibiotic was found to rapidly destabilize the cell membrane by pore formation and membrane aggregation in Bacillus subtilis, suggesting that this fatty acid may be a promising adjuvant used in combination to enhance antibiotic sensitivity.
View details for DOI 10.1128/jb.00310-23
View details for PubMedID 37905811
Genomic mining and diversity of assembly line polyketide synthases.
2023; 13 (8): 230096
Assembly line polyketide synthases (PKSs) are a large family of multifunctional enzymes responsible for synthesizing many medicinally relevant natural products with remarkable structural variety and biological activity. The decrease in cost of genomic sequencing paired with development of computational tools like antiSMASH presents an opportunity to survey the vast diversity of assembly line PKS. Mining the genomic data in the National Center for Biotechnology Information database, our updated catalogue (https://orphanpkscatalog2022.stanford.edu/catalog) presented in this article revealed 8799 non-redundant assembly line polyketide synthase clusters across 4083 species, representing a threefold increase over the past 4 years. Additionally, 95% of the clusters are 'orphan clusters' for which natural products are neither chemically nor biologically characterized. Our analysis indicates that the diversity of assembly line PKSs remains vastly under-explored and also highlights the promise of a genomics-driven approach to natural product discovery.
View details for DOI 10.1098/rsob.230096
View details for PubMedID 37528731