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Involvement of secondary metabolites in the pathogenesis of the American foulbrood of honey bees caused by Paenibacillus larvae

Müller, Sebastian; García-Gonzalez, Eva; Genersch, Elke; Süßmuth, Roderich D.

FG Organische Chemie

Covering: 2011 to end of 2014 The Gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae (P. larvae) is the causative agent of the epizootic American Foulbrood (AFB), a fatal brood disease of the western honey bee (Apis mellifera). AFB is one of the most destructive honey bee diseases since it is not only lethal for infected larvae but also for the diseased colonies. Due to the high impact of honey bees on ecology and economy this epizootic is a severe and pressing problem. Knowledge about virulence mechanisms and the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely elusive. Recent genome sequencing of P. larvae revealed its potential to produce unknown secondary metabolites, like nonribosomal peptides and peptide-polyketide hybrids. This article highlights recent findings on secondary metabolites synthesized by P. larvae and discusses their role in virulence and pathogenicity towards the bee larvae.