Discovery and Biosynthesis of Antimicrobial Phenethylamine Alkaloids from the Marine Flavobacterium <em>Tenacibaculum discolor</em> sv11
J Nat Prod. 2022 Apr 13. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c01173. Online ahead of print.
The bacterial genus Tenacibaculum has been associated with various ecological roles in marine environments. Members of this genus can act, for example, as pathogens, predators, or episymbionts. However, natural products produced by these bacteria are still unknown. In the present work, we investigated a Tenacibaculum strain for the production of antimicrobial metabolites. Six new phenethylamine (PEA)-containing alkaloids, discolins A and B (1 and 2), dispyridine (3), dispyrrolopyridine A and B (4 and 5), and dispyrrole (6), were isolated from media produced by the predatory bacterium Tenacibaculum discolor sv11. Chemical structures were elucidated by analysis of spectroscopic data. Alkaloids 4 and 5 exhibited strong activity against Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis DSM10, Mycobacterium smegmatis ATCC607, Listeria monocytogenes DSM20600, and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC25923, with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values ranging from 0.5 to 4 μg/mL, and moderate activity against Candida albicans FH2173 and Aspergillus flavus ATCC9170. Compound 6 displayed moderate antibacterial activities against Gram-positive bacteria. Dispyrrolopyridine A (4) was active against efflux pump deficient Escherichia coli ATCC25922 ΔtolC, with an MIC value of 8 μg/mL, as well as against Caenorhabditis elegans N2 with an MIC value of 32 μg/mL. Other compounds were inactive against these microorganisms. The biosynthetic route toward discolins A and B (1 and 2) was investigated using in vivo and in vitro experiments. It comprises an enzymatic decarboxylation of phenylalanine to PEA catalyzed by DisA, followed by a nonenzymatic condensation to form the central imidazolium ring. This spontaneous formation of the imidazolium core was verified by means of a synthetic one-pot reaction using the respective building blocks. Six additional strains belonging to three Tenacibaculum species were able to produce discolins, and several DisA analogues were identified in various marine flavobacterial genera, suggesting the widespread presence of PEA-derived compounds in marine ecosystems.