P1 adhesin dynamics with Mycoplasma pneumoniae terminal organelle functional maturation
Seymour, Tracey Ann
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Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a cell wall-less prokaryote that causes primary atypical pneumonia and bronchitis. Motility and adherence are essential for colonization of host epithelium. The polar terminal organelle mediates both gliding motility and adherence, and is composed of a complex of proteins that includes an electron dense core. While many terminal organelle proteins have been identified, the arrangement, function, and interactions remain unknown. P1 is a transmembrane protein that is associated with the terminal organelle and is thought to be the main adhesin. In the current study, anti-P1 monoclonal antibody (mAB) labeling patterns on gliding and static mycoplasmas were evaluated using immunofluorescence microscopy. A quantifiable difference in labeling patterns between two mABs was observed, both on individual cells and population-wide. Furthermore, differences in labeling correlated with gliding state. The results suggest that P1 exists in distinct by dynamic sub-populations when functioning in gliding motility, shedding light on the gliding mechanism.