The Jekyll-and-Hyde chemistry of phaeobacter gallaeciensis

Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost, Rebecca J. Case, Roberto Kolter, Jon Clardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

356 Scopus citations


Emiliania huxleyi, an environmentally important marine microalga, has a bloom-and-bust lifestyle in which massive algal blooms appear and fade. Phaeobacter gallaeciensis belongs to the roseobacter clade of α-Proteobacteria, the populations of which wax and wane with that of E. huxleyi. Roseobacter are thought to promote algal growth by biosynthesizing and secreting antibiotics and growth stimulants (auxins). Here we show that P. gallaeciensis switches its secreted small molecule metabolism to the production of potent and selective algaecides, the roseobacticides, in response to p-coumaric acid, an algal lignin breakdown product that is symptomatic of aging algae. This switch converts P. gallaeciensis into an opportunistic pathogen of its algal host.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-335
Number of pages5
JournalNature chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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