Nonribosomal peptides protect Pseudomonas nunensis 4A2e from amoebal and nematodal predation.
The rhizosphere is a highly competitive environment forcing bacteria to evolve strategies to oppose their enemies. The production of toxic secondary metabolites allows bacteria to counteract predators. In this study, we describe the anti-predator armamentarium of the soil-derived bacterium Pseudomonas nunensis 4A2e. Based on a genome mining approach, we identified several biosynthetic gene clusters coding for nonribosomal peptide synthetases. Generation of gene deletion mutants of the respective clusters show a loss of defense capabilities. We isolated the novel lipopeptides keanumycin D and nunapeptins B and C, and fully elucidated their structures by a combination of in-depth mass spectrometry experiments, stable isotope labelling, and chemical synthesis. Additionally, investigation of the quorum sensing-dependent biosynthesis allowed us to elucidate parts of the underlying regulation of the biosynthetic machinery. Ecology-inspired bioassays highlight the role of these peptides as defence strategy against protozoans and led us to find a previously unknown function against the bacterivorous nematode Oscheius myriophilus.