Predatory Strategies of Myxococcus xanthus: Prey Susceptibility to OMVs and Moonlighting Enzymes

Allison S. Zwarycz, Thomas Page, Gabriela Nikolova, Emily J. Radford, David E. Whitworth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Predatory outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) secreted by myxobacteria fuse readily with the outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria, introducing toxic cargo into their prey. Here we used a strain of the myxobacterium Myxococcus xanthus that produces fluorescent OMVs to assay the uptake of OMVs by a panel of Gram-negative bacteria. M. xanthus strains took up significantly less OMV material than the tested prey strains, suggesting that re-fusion of OMVs with producing organisms is somehow inhibited. The OMV killing activity against different prey correlated strongly with the predatory activity of myxobacterial cells, however, there was no correlation between OMV killing activity and their propensity to fuse with different prey. It has previously been proposed that M. xanthus GAPDH stimulates the predatory activity of OMVs by enhancing OMV fusion with prey cells. Therefore, we expressed and purified active fusion proteins of M. xanthus glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and phosphoglycerate kinase (GAPDH and PGK; moonlighting enzymes with additional activities beyond their roles in glycolysis/gluconeogenesis) to investigate any involvement in OMV-mediated predation. Neither GAPDH nor PGK caused lysis of prey cells or enhanced OMV-mediated lysis of prey cells. However, both enzymes were found to inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli, even in the absence of OMVs. Our results suggest that fusion efficiency is not a determinant of prey killing, but instead resistance to the cargo of OMVs and co-secreted enzymes dictates whether organisms can be preyed upon by myxobacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number874
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2023


  • extracellular vesicle
  • glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase
  • membrane fusion
  • outer membrane vesicle
  • phosphoglycerate kinase
  • predation


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