Mycoplasma penetrans adhered to cultured human cells, forming clusters that localized to specific areas of the host cell surface. Adherence and cluster formation were inhibited by anti-M. penetrans antibodies, suggesting the involvement of specific adhesin-receptor interactions. Ultrastructural studies showed that after 2 h of infection, mycoplasmas attach to and penetrate the host cell surface. M. penetrans bound selectively to immobilized fibronectin, an interaction which was not inhibited by a 70-kDa fragment containing a heparin-gelatin-binding domain of fibronectin, other matrix glycoproteins, or an RGD tripeptide, suggesting the recognition of other specific binding sites on the fibronectin molecule. A ca. 65-kDa fibronectin-binding protein of M. penetrans was eluted following Sepharose- fibronectin affinity chromatography. Confocal, light, and immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated that the interaction of M. penetrans with target cells triggers a signal that causes recruitment of several cytoskeletal components, including tubulin and α-actinin, and aggregation of phosphorylated proteins. Detergent-soluble mycoplasma proteins with apparent molecular masses of 18, 28, 32, 36, 39, and 41 kDa selectively bound to glutaraldehyde-fixed HEp-2 cells. Our findings offer new insights into understanding the interaction of this human mycoplasma with host target cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases