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Growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis biofilms.

Kulka, K and Hatfull, G and Ojha, AK (2012) Growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis biofilms. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE (60).

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the etiologic agent of human tuberculosis, has an extraordinary ability to survive against environmental stresses including antibiotics. Although stress tolerance of M. tuberculosis is one of the likely contributors to the 6-month long chemotherapy of tuberculosis (1), the molecular mechanisms underlying this characteristic phenotype of the pathogen remain unclear. Many microbial species have evolved to survive in stressful environments by self-assembling in highly organized, surface attached, and matrix encapsulated structures called biofilms (2-4). Growth in communities appears to be a preferred survival strategy of microbes, and is achieved through genetic components that regulate surface attachment, intercellular communications, and synthesis of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) (5,6). The tolerance to environmental stress is likely facilitated by EPS, and perhaps by the physiological adaptation of individual bacilli to heterogeneous microenvironments within the complex architecture of biofilms (7). In a series of recent papers we established that M. tuberculosis and Mycobacterium smegmatis have a strong propensity to grow in organized multicellular structures, called biofilms, which can tolerate more than 50 times the minimal inhibitory concentrations of the anti-tuberculosis drugs isoniazid and rifampicin (8-10). M. tuberculosis, however, intriguingly requires specific conditions to form mature biofilms, in particular 9:1 ratio of headspace: media as well as limited exchange of air with the atmosphere (9). Requirements of specialized environmental conditions could possibly be linked to the fact that M. tuberculosis is an obligate human pathogen and thus has adapted to tissue environments. In this publication we demonstrate methods for culturing M. tuberculosis biofilms in a bottle and a 12-well plate format, which is convenient for bacteriological as well as genetic studies. We have described the protocol for an attenuated strain of M. tuberculosis, mc(2)7000, with deletion in the two loci, panCD and RD1, that are critical for in vivo growth of the pathogen (9). This strain can be safely used in a BSL-2 containment for understanding the basic biology of the tuberculosis pathogen thus avoiding the requirement of an expensive BSL-3 facility. The method can be extended, with appropriate modification in media, to grow biofilm of other culturable mycobacterial species. Overall, a uniform protocol of culturing mycobacterial biofilms will help the investigators interested in studying the basic resilient characteristics of mycobacteria. In addition, a clear and concise method of growing mycobacterial biofilms will also help the clinical and pharmaceutical investigators to test the efficacy of a potential drug.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kulka, K
Hatfull, Ggfh@pitt.eduGFH
Ojha, AKano7@pitt.eduANO7
Date: 26 June 2012
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Number: 60
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Biological Sciences
Refereed: Yes
MeSH Headings: Bacteriological Techniques--methods; Biofilms--growth & development; Mycobacterium tuberculosis--physiology
PubMed Central ID: 3376936
PubMed ID: 22371116
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2012 16:58
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2022 13:50


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