Biofilms protect Mycoplasma pulmonis cells from lytic effects of complement and gramicidin

Academic Article


  • The length of the tandem repeat region of the Vsa protein of Mycoplasma pulmonis has previously been shown to modulate the susceptibility of mycoplasmas to killing by complement: cells that produce a short form of the Vsa protein are highly sensitive, and cells producing the long Vsa protein are resistant. In contrast to their differing susceptibilities to complement, the mycoplasmas were highly sensitive to gramicidin irrespective of the length of the Vsa protein produced. We show here that when encased within a biofilm, cells of M. pulmonis producing a short form of the Vsa protein were more resistant to complement and gramicidin than mycoplasmas that were dispersed. The resistance appeared to be localized to those mycoplasmas within tower structures of the biofilms. Biofilm formation may be a mechanism that protects mycoplasmas from host immunity. Copyright © 2007, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Simmons WL; Dybvig K
  • Start Page

  • 3696
  • End Page

  • 3699
  • Volume

  • 75
  • Issue

  • 8