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Microbiology. 2013 Apr;159(Pt 4):737-47. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.064782-0. Epub 2013 Feb 14.

Type 1 and type 2 strains of Mycoplasma pneumoniae form different biofilms.

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Department of Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


Several mycoplasma species have been shown to form biofilms that confer resistance to antimicrobials and which may affect the host immune system, thus making treatment and eradication of the pathogens difficult. The present study shows that the biofilms formed by two strains of the human pathogen Mycoplasma pneumoniae differ quantitatively and qualitatively. Compared with strain UAB PO1, strain M129 grows well but forms biofilms that are less robust, with towers that are less smooth at the margins. A polysaccharide containing N-acetylglucosamine is secreted by M129 into the culture medium but found in tight association with the cells of UAB PO1. The polysaccharide may have a role in biofilm formation, contributing to differences in virulence, chronicity and treatment outcome between strains of M. pneumoniae. The UAB PO1 genome was found to be that of a type 2 strain of M. pneumoniae, whereas M129 is type 1. Examination of other M. pneumoniae isolates suggests that the robustness of the biofilm correlates with the strain type.

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