Indian Journal of Microbiology

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 287–293 | Cite as

Effect of Homocysteine on Biofilm Formation by Mycobacteria

  • Richa Virmani
  • Yasha Hasija
  • Yogendra Singh
Original Research Article


Mycobacteria show peculiar aggregated outgrowth like biofilm on the surface of solid or liquid media. Biofilms harbor antibiotic resistant bacteria in a self-produced extracellular matrix that signifies the bacterial fate to sedentary existence. Despite years of research, very little is known about the mechanisms that contribute to biofilm formation. LuxS has been previously known to play a role in biofilm formation in Autoinducer-2 dependent manner. We here show the effect of LuxS product-homocysteine, on the biofilm forming ability of non-tuberculous mycobacteria, Mycobacterium smegmatis and Mycobacterium bovis BCG showing AI-2 independent phenotypic effect of LuxS. Exogenous supplementation of homocysteine in the culture media leads to aberrant cording, pellicle outgrowth, and biofilm formation. Thus, our study contributes to the better understanding of the mechanism of mycobacterial biofilm formation and sheds light on the role of LuxS product homocysteine. In addition, we highlight the contribution of activated methyl cycle in bacterial quorum sensing.


Homocysteine S-adenosyl methionine Biofilm Mycobacteria Methylation 



S-adenosyl methionine




Activated methyl cycle


S-adenosyl homocysteine


S-adenosyl homocysteine hydrolase


Non-tuberculous mycobacteria


S-ribosyl homocysteine



We thank Anshika Singhal for her valuable suggestions in the experiments and the manuscript.

Author’s Contributions

RV conceived and designed the experiments. YH and YS contributed materials, reagents and analysis tools. All authors have read and approved the manuscript.


This work was supported by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India, J.C. Bose fellowship (SERB) (to Y.S.); and CSIR senior research fellowship (to R.V.).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Competing interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.


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Copyright information

© Association of Microbiologists of India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia
  2. 2.Delhi Technological UniversityDelhiIndia

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