1932

Abstract

Descriptions of the changeable, striking colors associated with secreted natural products date back well over a century. These molecules can serve as extracellular electron shuttles (EESs) that permit microbes to access substrates at a distance. In this review, we argue that the colorful world of EESs has been too long neglected. Rather than simply serving as a diagnostic attribute of a particular microbial strain, redox-active natural products likely play fundamental, underappreciated roles in the biology of their producers, particularly those that inhabit biofilms. Here, we describe the chemical diversity and potential distribution of EES producers and users, discuss the costs associated with their biosynthesis, and critically evaluate strategies for their economical usage. We hope this review will inspire efforts to identify and explore the importance of EES cycling by a wide range of microorganisms so that their contributions to shaping microbial communities can be better assessed and exploited.

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2017-09-08
2024-04-15
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