Growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis biofilms containing free mycolic acids and harbouring drug-tolerant bacteria

Anil K. Ojha, Anthony D. Baughn, Dhinakaran Sambandan, Tsungda Hsu, Xavier Trivelli, Yann Guerardel, Anuradha Alahari, Laurent Kremer, William R. Jacobs, Graham F. Hatfull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

289 Scopus citations

Abstract

Successful treatment of human tuberculosis requires 6-9 months' therapy with multiple antibiotics. Incomplete clearance of tubercle bacilli frequently results in disease relapse, presumably as a result of reactivation of persistent drug-tolerant Mycobacterium tuberculosis cells, although the nature and location of these persisters are not known. In other pathogens, antibiotic tolerance is often associated with the formation of biofilms - organized communities of surface-attached cells - but physiologically and genetically defined M. tuberculosis biofilms have not been described. Here, we show that M. tuberculosis forms biofilms with specific environmental and genetic requirements distinct from those for planktonic growth, which contain an extracellular matrix rich in free mycolic acids, and harbour an important drug-tolerant population that persist despite exposure to high levels of antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-174
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2008

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