Induction of antibacterial metabolites by co-cultivation of two Red-Sea-sponge-associated actinomycetes Micromonospora sp. UR56 and Actinokinespora sp. EG49

Mohamed S. Hifnawy, Hossam M. Hassan, Rabab Mohammed, Mohamed M. Fouda, Ahmed M. Sayed, Ahmed A. Hamed, Sameh F. AbouZid, Mostafa E. Rateb, Hani A. Alhadrami, Usama Ramadan Abdelmohsen

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Liquid chromatography coupled with high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRESMS)-assisted metabolomic profiling of two sponge-associated actinomycetes, Micromonospora sp. UR56 and Actinokineospora sp. EG49, revealed that the co-culture of these two actinomycetes induced the accumulation of metabolites that were not traced in their axenic cultures. Dereplication suggested that phenazine-derived compounds were the main induced metabolites. Hence, following large-scale co-fermentation, the major induced metabolites were isolated and structurally characterized as the already known dimethyl phenazine-1,6-dicarboxylate (1), phenazine-1,6-dicarboxylic acid mono methyl ester (phencomycin; 2), phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (tubermycin; 3), N-(2-hydroxyphenyl)-acetamide (9), and p-anisamide (10). Subsequently, the antibacterial, antibiofilm, and cytotoxic properties of these metabolites (1-3, 9, and 10) were determined in vitro. All the tested compounds except 9 showed high to moderate antibacterial and antibiofilm activities, whereas their cytotoxic effects were modest. Testing against Staphylococcus DNA gyrase-B and pyruvate kinase as possible molecular targets together with binding mode studies showed that compounds 1-3 could exert their bacterial inhibitory activities through the inhibition of both enzymes. Moreover, their structural differences, particularly the substitution at C-1 and C-6, played a crucial role in the determination of their inhibitory spectra and potency. In conclusion, the present study highlighted that microbial co-cultivation is an efficient tool for the discovery of new antimicrobial candidates and indicated phenazines as potential lead compounds for further development as antibiotic scaffold.

Original languageEnglish
Article number243
Number of pages17
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2020


  • Antibacterial
  • Antibiofilm
  • Co-cultivation
  • DNA gyrase
  • Phenazine
  • Pyruvate kinase
  • Sponge-associated actinomycetes


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