Aimee Cortez L&S Sciences
The Ecology of Antibiotic Production in Interspecies Interactions
The soil microbial community is rich with bacteria that provide an abundant source of medically valuable natural antibiotics and pharmaceuticals. In particular, Streptomyces padanus possesses antimicrobial activity and produces actinomycin D, an antibiotic with antitumor properties. However, there is a lack of understanding in the field regarding the ecology of antibiotic production in S. padanus — specifically how antibiotic products contribute to antimicrobial activity during microbial interactions. Preliminary data suggests that activity of actinomycin D inhibits growth of the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae during interspecies interactions. In my research, I will adapt an engineered CRISPR/Cas9 system to delete actinomycin D activity in S. padanus, which is a novel method for this species. I will then analyze whether Metarhizium is still inhibited by mutant S. padanus during interactions. This will confirm whether actinomycin D plays a significant role in this bacterial-fungi interaction. By creating mutant strains and testing their interactions with fungi, my research will contribute to a better understanding about CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in S. padanus and this species ecological role in the soil environment.