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Bacteria live in polymicrobial communities characterized by a great diversity of co-existing species and competition for available resources. Unearthing the molecular mechanisms that shape microbial communities and their dynamics is a major challenge of the post-genomic era. One bacterial strategy for persisting in a specific niche is the production of toxic extracellular factors that interfere with the growth and/or viability of nearby microbes. In this lecture, I will present the discovery, biosynthesis, mode of action, and potential ecological role of one of these small molecules: the non-canonical D-amino acids.

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