Adaptive Reactions of Mycoplasmas In Vitro: “Viable but Unculturable Forms” and Nanocells of Acholeplasma laidlawii
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The adaptation of Acholeplasma laidlawii to conditions unfavorable for growth has been found to be accompanied by cell transformation into special morphological structures known as ultramicroforms (nanocells). The ratio of the cells of the two morphological types in the population depended on the growth conditions. Nanocells retained viability for a long time under conditions unfavorable for growth and showed resistance to stressors. Reduction in the cell size occurred due to unequal division, which involved the loss of cytoplasmic material. A. laidlawii ultramicroforms (nanocells) were able to restore proliferative activity and to revert to their initial vegetative form; they measured less than 0.2 µm and are the smallest cells known at present. Nanocells formed in vitro under exposure to abiogenic stressors may correspond to the A. laidlawii minibodies observed in infected plants upon exposure to biogenic stressors. The transformation of A. laidlawii cells into ultramicroforms was accompanied by condensation of the nucleoid, a change in the polypeptide spectrum, and a change in the availability of rRNA operons for in vitro amplification. All these changes are indicative of reorganization of the genetic and metabolic systems of mycoplasmas.
Key wordsmycoplasmas adaptation nanoforms viable but unculturable forms
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