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Abstract

This study describes a novel morphological form found in the five species belonging to the bacterial class Mollicutes, and referred to as microcolonies (MCs).

In contrast to typical colonies (TCs), MCs are characterized by tiny propeller-shaped colonies formed by rod-like cells tightly packed in parallel rows. These colonies were observed within routinely cultivated cultures of type strains 7–12 days post-plating. Rod-like cells were visualized using a scanning electron microscope within TCs with a ‘fried-egg-like’ appearance. MCs were not observed to revert to TCs. MCs were resistant to antibiotics and other treatments effective against TCs. Pure MC cultures were generated by treatment of cultures with hyperimmune serum, antibiotics or argon non-thermal plasma. MCs of strain H-34 were characterized in detail to confirm that they belonged to that species. MCs tested positive via PCR with -specific primers, direct fluorescence and epifluorescence tests, and Western blotting with the camel-derived nanobody aMh-FcG2a, which is specific to the MH3620 transporter protein. Meanwhile, MCs behaved differently in standard bacteriological tests. Pure MC cultures were also isolated directly from clinical samples of the serum, synovial liquid and urine of patients with inflammatory urogenital tract diseases, asthma or arthritis. In total, 79 independent MC cultures were isolated from clinical samples including (=70), (=2), (=2) and spp. (=5).

MCs play an unknown role in infection pathology and display prominent antibiotic resistance, making them a challenge for the future studies on Mollicutes.

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2019-10-31
2019-11-14
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