Chemical mediators at the bacterial-fungal interface.
Interactions among microbes are key drivers of evolutionary progress and constantly shape ecological niches. Microorganisms rely on chemical communication to interact with each other and surrounding organisms. They synthesize natural products as signaling molecules, antibiotics, or modulators of cellular processes that may be applied in agriculture and medicine. Whereas major insight has been gained into the principles of intraspecies interaction, much less is known about the molecular basis of interspecies interplay. In this review, we summarize recent progress in the understanding of chemically mediated bacterial-fungal interrelations. We discuss pairwise interactions among defined species and systems involving additional organisms as well as complex interactions among microbial communities encountered in the soil or defined as microbiota of higher organisms. Finally, we give examples of how the growing understanding of microbial interactions has contributed to drug discovery and hypothesize what may be future directions in studying and engineering microbiota for agricultural or medicinal purposes.