Algicidal bacteria can lyse microalgal blooms and trigger shifts within plankton communities. Resistant algal species can escape lysis, and have the opportunity to dominate the phytoplankton after a bacterial infection. Despite their important function in ecosystem regulation, little is known about mechanisms of resistance. Here, we show that the diatom Chaetoceros didymus
releases eicosanoid oxylipins into the medium, and that the lytic algicidal bacterium, Kordia algicida
, induces the production of several wound-activated oxylipins in this resistant diatom. Neither releases nor an induction occurs in the susceptible diatom Skeletonema costatum
that is lysed by the bacterium within a few days. Among the upregulated oxylipins, hydroxylated eicosapentaenoic acids (HEPEs) dominate. However, also, resolvins, known lipid mediators in mammals, increase upon exposure of the algae to the algicidal bacteria. The prevailing hydroxylated fatty acid, 15-HEPE, significantly inhibits growth of K. algicida
at a concentration of approximately 1 µM. The oxylipin production may represent an independent line of defense of the resistant alga, acting in addition to the previously reported upregulation of proteases.
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