Protozoan predation of bacteria can significantly affect soil microbial community composition and ecosystem functioning. Bacteria possess diverse defense strategies to resist or evade protozoan predation. For soil-dwelling Pseudomonas species, several secondary metabolites were proposed to provide protection against different protozoan genera. By combining whole-genome transcriptome analyses with (live) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS), we observed multiple changes in the molecular and chemical dialogues between Pseudomonas fluorescens and the protist Naegleria americana. Lipopeptide (LP) biosynthesis was induced in Pseudomonas upon protozoan grazing and LP accumulation transitioned from homogeneous distributions across bacterial colonies to site-specific accumulation at the bacteria-protist interface. Also putrescine biosynthesis was upregulated in P. fluorescens upon predation. We demonstrated that putrescine induces protozoan trophozoite encystment and adversely affects cyst viability. This multifaceted study provides new insights in common and strain-specific responses in bacteria-protozoa interactions, including responses that contribute to bacterial survival in highly competitive soil and rhizosphere environments.
Song, C., Mazzola, M., Cheng, X., Oetjen, J., Alexandrov, T., Dorrestein, P. C., Watrous, J., van der Voort, M., & Raaijmakers, J. (2015). Molecular and chemical dialogues in bacteria-protozoa interactions. Scientific Reports, 5, . https://doi.org/10.1038/srep12837