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Pseudomonas aeruginosa rhamnolipid micelles deliver toxic metabolites and antibiotics into Staphylococcus aureus
Gdaniec, B. G., Bonini, F., Prodon, F., Braschler, T., Köhler, T., & van Delden, C.
Efficient delivery of toxic compounds to bacterial competitors is essential during interspecies microbial warfare. Rhamnolipids (RLPs) are glycolipids produced by Pseudomonas and Burkholderia species involved in solubilization and uptake of environmental aliphatic hydrocarbons and perform as biosurfactants for swarming motility. Here, we show that RLPs produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa associate to form micelles. Using high-resolution microscopy, we found that RLP micelles serve as carriers for self-produced toxic compounds, which they deliver to Staphylococcus aureus cells, thereby enhancing and accelerating S. aureus killing. RLPs also potentiated the activity of lincosamide antibiotics, suggesting that RLP micelles may transport not only self-produced but also heterologous compounds to target competing bacterial species