Biofilm Formation by Mycoplasmas
from: Mollicutes: Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis (Edited by: Glenn F. Browning and Christine Citti). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2014)
Previously it has been difficult to explain how mycoplasmas manage to cause such severe and chronic infections given their paucity of virulence factors. In many other bacterial species adherence to a solid surface and biofilm formation are important steps in the initiation of disease. The possibility of environmental persistence and virulence in the host could also be explained by biofilm formation in mycoplasmas. Biofilms are sessile bacterial communities that live attached to each other and/or surfaces enclosed in a sugary exopolysaccharide matrix. Biofilm structure is highly variable and dependent on a number of factors, including the organism, the surface, the surrounding nutrient environment and the rate of flow of any aqueous interface. Biofilms are formed by the vast majority of mycoplasma species studied to date and the capacity to form biofilms is found in diverse species from all phylogenic groups of mycoplasmas. Intriguingly, mycoplasmas lack all of the known regulatory systems that are involved in biofilm formation in other bacterial species, but recent research is beginning to unravel the genetic basis of biofilm formation. The growth of biofilms in vitro and the use of biofilm model systems are also discussed read more ...