Exposure of hamster tracheal organ cultures to virulent Mycoplasma pneumoniae leads to alterations in ribonucleic acid (RNA) and protein biosynthesis and metabolism of the respiratory epithelium. An examination of the turnover rates of RNA and protein in infected tracheal organ cultures indicates that the rates of degradation of both prelabeled host cell RNA and protein are similar to those of uninfected controls. Infected tracheal organ cultures shifted to a nonpermissive medium within 24 h after infection and further incubated in the nonpermissive medium for 72 or 96 h behaved as normal uninfected cultures in terms of metabolic precursor uptake. Under these conditions, mycoplasmas remained attached to the respiratory epithelium. Cell membranes prepared from virulent mycoplasmas by several procedures neither attached to nor altered the metabolic activity of tracheal cultures. These data indicate that the intimate contact between virulent mycoplasmas and the respiratory epithelium does not alone account for the subsequent interruption of host cell metabolism but must be accompanied by continued multiplication and biochemical function of attached mycoplasmas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases