A Caltech Library Service

Redox-active antibiotics enhance phosphorus bioavailability

McRose, Darcy L. and Newman, Dianne K. (2021) Redox-active antibiotics enhance phosphorus bioavailability. Science, 371 (6533). pp. 1033-1037. ISSN 0036-8075. PMCID PMC8051141. doi:10.1126/science.abd1515.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF (Materials and Methods; Figs. S1 to S6; Tables S1 to S3; References) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF (MDAR Reproducibility Checklist) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Microbial production of antibiotics is common, but our understanding of their roles in the environment is limited. In this study, we explore long-standing observations that microbes increase the production of redox-active antibiotics under phosphorus limitation. The availability of phosphorus, a nutrient required by all life on Earth and essential for agriculture, can be controlled by adsorption to and release from iron minerals by means of redox cycling. Using phenazine antibiotic production by pseudomonads as a case study, we show that phenazines are regulated by phosphorus, solubilize phosphorus through reductive dissolution of iron oxides in the lab and field, and increase phosphorus-limited microbial growth. Phenazines are just one of many examples of phosphorus-regulated antibiotics. Our work suggests a widespread but previously unappreciated role for redox-active antibiotics in phosphorus acquisition and cycling.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Materials CentralArticle
McRose, Darcy L.0000-0001-9637-7176
Newman, Dianne K.0000-0003-1647-1918
Additional Information:© 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science. This is an article distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License. Received 15 June 2020; accepted 13 January 2021. We thank N. Dalleska (Caltech) for help with ICP-MS and liquid chromatograph–mass spectrometry analysis, K. Nealson (USC) as well as L. Sadler and K. Spafford (USC Wrigley Marine Science Center) for assistance with Catalina Island sampling, and S. Lim (Caltech) for help with sulfide measurements. We are grateful to Newman laboratory members M. Bergkessel and M. Spero for guidance on mutant construction, S. Wilbert for field assistance, and L. Tsypin for help with translation of papers. We also thank F. M. M. Morel for support and advice. We thank the Resnick Sustainability Institute for creating a supportive environment in which to do this work. This work was supported by grants from the ARO (W911NF-17-1-0024) and NIH (1R01AI127850-01A1) to D.K.N.; D.L.M. was supported by a division postdoctoral fellowship from Biology and Biological Engineering at Caltech, as well as the Simons Foundation postdoctoral fellowship in Marine Microbial Ecology. Author contributions: D.K.N. conceived the idea; D.K.N. and D.L.M. developed the project, designed and performed the experiments, analyzed and interpreted the data, and wrote the paper. The authors declare no competing interests. Data and materials availability: All data are available in the main text or the supplementary materials.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Army Research Office (ARO)W911NF-17-1-0024
Caltech Division of Biology and Biological EngineeringUNSPECIFIED
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6533
PubMed Central ID:PMC8051141
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210304-154532731
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Redox-active antibiotics enhance phosphorus bioavailability. By Darcy L. McRose, Dianne K. Newman. Science 05 Mar 2021: 1033-1037; DOI: 10.1126/science.abd1515
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108317
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Mar 2021 23:59
Last Modified:17 Mar 2022 18:03

Repository Staff Only: item control page