Chemical warfare between fungus-growing ants and their pathogens

Batey, Sibyl, Greco, Claudio, Hutchings, Matthew I. and Wilkinson, Barrie (2020) Chemical warfare between fungus-growing ants and their pathogens. Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, 59. pp. 172-181. ISSN 1367-5931

[thumbnail of Published_Version]
PDF (Published_Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Fungus-growing attine ants are under constant threat from fungal pathogens such as the specialized mycoparasite Escovopsis, which uses combined physical and chemical attack strategies to prey on the fungal gardens of the ants. In defence, some species assemble protective microbiomes on their exoskeletons that contain antimicrobial-producing Actinobacteria. Underlying this network of mutualistic and antagonistic interactions are an array of chemical signals. Escovopsis weberi produces the shearinine terpene-indole alkaloids, which affect ant behaviour, diketopiperazines to combat defensive bacteria, and other small molecules that inhibit the fungal cultivar. Pseudonocardia and Streptomyces mutualist bacteria produce depsipeptide and polyene macrolide antifungals active against Escovopsis spp. The ant nest metabolome is further complicated by competition between defensive bacteria, which produce antibacterials active against even closely related species.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2020 01:40
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2022 03:30
DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2020.08.001


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item