A minimized motile machinery for Mycoplasma genitalium

Luis García-Morales, Luis González-González, Enrique Querol, Jaume Piñol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The cell wall-less bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium uses specialized adhesins located at the terminal organelle to adhere to host cells and surfaces. The terminal organelle is a polar structure protruding from the cell body that is internally supported by a cytoskeleton and also has an important role in cell motility. We have engineered a M. genitalium null mutant for MG491 protein showing a massive downstream destabilization of proteins involved in the terminal organelle organization. This mutant strain exhibited striking similarities with the previously isolated MG_218 null mutant strain. Upon introduction of an extra copy of MG_318 gene in both strains, the amount of main adhesins P140 and P110 dramatically increased. These strains were characterized by microcinematography, epifluorescence microscopy and cryo-electron microcopy, revealing the presence of motile cells and filaments in the absence of many proteins considered essential for cell adhesion and motility. These results indicate that adhesin complexes play a major role in the motile machinery of M. genitalium and demonstrate that the rod element of the cytoskeleton core is not the molecular motor propelling mycoplasma cells. These strains containing a minimized motile machinery also provide a valuable cell model to investigate the adhesion and gliding properties of this human pathogen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-138
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


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