Western bats as a reservoir of novel Streptomyces species with antifungal activity

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
By: , and 



At least two-thirds of commercial antibiotics today are derived from Actinobacteria, more specifically from the genus Streptomyces. Antibiotic resistance and new emerging diseases pose great challenges in the field of microbiology. Cave systems, in which actinobacteria are ubiquitous and abundant, represent new opportunities for the discovery of novel bacterial species and the study of their interactions with emergent pathogens. White-nose syndrome is an invasive bat disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which has killed more than six million bats in the last 7 years. In this study, we isolated naturally occurring actinobacteria from white-nose syndrome (WNS)-free bats from five cave systems and surface locations in the vicinity in New Mexico and Arizona, USA. We sequenced the 16S rRNA region and tested 632 isolates from 12 different bat species using a bilayer plate method to evaluate antifungal activity. Thirty-six actinobacteria inhibited or stopped the growth of P. destructans, with 32 (88.9%) actinobacteria belonging to the genus Streptomyces. Isolates in the genera Rhodococcus, Streptosporangium, Luteipulveratus, and Nocardiopsis also showed inhibition. Twenty-five of the isolates with antifungal activity against P. destructans represent 15 novel Streptomyces spp. based on multilocus sequence analysis. Our results suggest that bats in western North America caves possess novel bacterial microbiota with the potential to inhibit P. destructans.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Western bats as a reservoir of novel Streptomyces species with antifungal activity
Series title Applied and Environmental Microbiology
DOI 10.1128/AEM.03057-16
Volume 83
Issue 5
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher American Society for Microbiology
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description e03057-16; 10 p.
First page 1
Last page 10
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