Secondary Metabolism of Predatory Bacteria

  • Angela Sester
  • Juliane Korp
  • Markus NettEmail author


Chemical mediators form the basis of microbial communication and are further known to influence the composition of multispecies consortia. It is thus not farfetched to ascribe such molecules also an important role in predator-prey interactions at the microscale. Already in 1984 two researchers, Eugene Rosenberg and Mazal Varon, speculated about a possible correlation between antibiotic production in myxobacteria and the predation strategy of these soil bacteria. However, it took almost 30 years until first evidence for their hypothesis was presented. Mainly due to the rapidly emerging field of genomics, it has now become obvious that not only myxobacteria but also many other groups of predatory bacteria share the potential for the biosynthesis of bioactive secondary metabolites. Recent studies indicate that a number of small molecules produced by predatory bacteria have functions in the process of predation beyond mere antibiosis. This chapter will summarize recent key findings in the field and provide a comprehensive overview on the biosynthetic capabilities of two model predators, namely Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and Myxococcus xanthus.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) for funding our research on predatory bacteria. Furthermore, we would like to thank our colleagues and coworkers at TU Dortmund University and at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology for their continued support.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Technical Biology, Department of Biochemical and Chemical EngineeringTU Dortmund UniversityDortmundGermany

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