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Data from: Competition sensing changes antibiotic production in Streptomyces

Cite this dataset

Westhoff, Sanne et al. (2020). Data from: Competition sensing changes antibiotic production in Streptomyces [Dataset]. Dryad.


One of the most important ways that bacteria compete for resources and space is by producing antibiotics that inhibit competitors. Because antibiotic production is costly, the biosynthetic gene clusters coordinating their synthesis are under strict regulatory control and often require “elicitors” to induce expression, including cues from competing strains. Although these cues are common, they are not produced by all competitors, and so the phenotypes causing induction remain unknown. By studying interactions between 24 antibiotic-producing strains of streptomycetes, we show that strains commonly inhibit each other’s growth and that this occurs more frequently if strains are closely related. Next, we show that antibiotic production is more likely to be induced by cues from strains that are closely related or that share secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). Unexpectedly, antibiotic production is less likely to be induced by competitors that inhibit the growth of a focal strain, indicating that cell damage is not a general cue for induction. In addition to induction, antibiotic production often decreases in the presence of a competitor, although this response was not associated with genetic relatedness or overlap in BGCs. Finally, we show that resource limitation increases the chance that antibiotic production declines during competition.  Our results reveal the importance of social cues and resource availability in the dynamics of interference competition in streptomycetes.