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Role of Chemical Mediators in Aquatic Interactions across the Prokaryote–Eukaryote Boundary


There is worldwide growing interest in the occurrence and diversity of metabolites used as chemical mediators in cross-kingdom interactions within aquatic systems. Bacteria produce metabolites to protect and influence the growth and life cycle of their eukaryotic hosts. In turn, the host provides a nutrient-enriched environment for the bacteria. Here, we discuss the role of waterborne chemical mediators that are responsible for such interactions in aquatic multi-partner systems, including algae or invertebrates and their associated bacteria. In particular, this review highlights recent advances in the chemical ecology of aquatic systems that support the overall ecological significance of signaling molecules across the prokaryote–eukaryote boundary (cross-kingdom interactions) for growth, development and morphogenesis of the host. We emphasize the value of establishing well-characterized model systems that provide the basis for the development of ecological principles that represent the natural lifestyle and dynamics of aquatic microbial communities and enable a better understanding of the consequences of environmental change and the most effective means of managing community interactions.

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The authors are grateful for financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for Grant SFB 1127 ChemBioSys (T.W., C.B.) and Exsphingo (C.B.). T.W. was also funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska−Curie grant agreement No.642575—The ALgal Microbiome: Friends and Foes (ALFF). The authors were inspired by the vibrant COST Action FA1406 ‘Phycomorph’ Workshop in Jena (Germany) in 2017. We apologize to those colleagues whose work could not be cited owing to space constraints.

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Correspondence to Thomas Wichard.

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Wichard, T., Beemelmanns, C. Role of Chemical Mediators in Aquatic Interactions across the Prokaryote–Eukaryote Boundary. J Chem Ecol 44, 1008–1021 (2018).

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