Phototorhabdus is an insect pathogenic enterobacterium which maintains a mutualistic interaction with heterorhabditid nematodes. While the bacteria live in the nematode gut, the nematodes live in the soil and infect insect larvae, releasing their symbiotic bacteria into the insect blood. Here the bacteria reproduce and kill the insect by septicaemia. The nematodes then feed on the bacterial biomass and undergo several rounds of reproduction before emerging from the cadaver carrying their bacterial symbionts. Photorhabdus secretes a versatile armory of antimicrobial molecules into the insect corpse. These biocides exert a range of antimicrobial killing activities and serve a dual function. They minimize competition from non-symbiotic bacteria and prevent microbial putrefaction of the nematode-infected insect cadaver. The goal of this review is to describe current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the production of bacteriocins by Photorhabdus. Recent important advances in identifying novel potent antibiotic compounds from Photorhabdus and elucidating their complex mode of action in relation to pathogenicity and symbiosis associations are also discussed. The last part of this review focuses on the potential role Photorhabdus antibiotics may play in contributing to the discovery of novel pharmaceutical and agrochemical products. The present article is a short review of recent patents on Photohabdus.
Keywords: Entomopathogenic bacteria, Photorhabdus, antibiotics, bacteriocins, pathogenicity, symbiosis
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