An antimicrobial Staphylococcus sciuri with broad temperature and salt spectrum isolated from the surface of the African social spider, Stegodyphus dumicola

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Some social arthropods engage in mutualistic symbiosis with antimicrobial compound-producing microorganisms that provide protection against pathogens. Social spiders live in communal nests and contain specific endosymbionts with unknown function. Bacteria are also found on the spiders' surface, including prevalent staphylococci, which may have protective potential. Here we present the genomic and phenotypic characterization of strain i1, isolated from the surface of the social spider Stegodyphus dumicola. Phylogenomic analysis identified i1 as novel strain of Staphylococcus sciuri within subgroup 2 of three newly defined genomic subgroups. Further phenotypic investigations showed that S. sciuri i1 is an extremophile that can grow at a broad range of temperatures (4°C-45°C), high salt concentrations (up to 27%), and has antimicrobial activity against closely related species. We identified a lactococcin 972-like bacteriocin gene cluster, likely responsible for the antimicrobial activity, and found it conserved in two of the three subgroups of S. sciuri. These features indicate that S. sciuri i1, though not a specific symbiont, is well-adapted to survive on the surface of social spiders and may gain a competitive advantage by inhibiting closely related species.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek: Journal of Microbiology
Volume114
Issue3
Pages (from-to)325–335
Number of pages11
ISSN0003-6072
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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