Mycoplasma exploits mammalian tunneling nanotubes for cell-to-cell dissemination

Bong Woo Kim, Jae Seon Lee, Young-Gyu Ko

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Using tunneling nanotubes (TNTs), various pathological molecules and viruses disseminate to adjacent cells intercellularly. Here, we show that the intracellular invasion of Mycoplasma hyorhinis induces the formation of actin- and tubulin-based TNTs in various mammalian cell lines. M. hyorhinis was found in TNTs generated by M. hyorhinis infection in NIH3T3 cells. Because mycoplasma-free recipient cells received mycoplasmas from M. hyorhinis-infected donor cells in a mixed co-culture system and not a spatially separated co-culture system, direct cell-to-cell contact via TNTs was necessary for the intracellular dissemination of M. hyorhinis. The activity of Rac1, which is a small GTP binding protein, was increased by the intracellular invasion of M. hyorhinis, and its pharmacological and genetic inhibition prevented M. hyorhinis infection-induced TNT generation in NIH3T3 cells. The pharmacological and genetic inhibition of Rac1 also reduced the cell-to-cell dissemination of M. hyorhinis. Based on these data, we conclude that intracellular invasion of M. hyorhinis induces the formation of TNTs, which are used for the cell-to-cell dissemination of M. hyorhinis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-495
Number of pages6
JournalBMB reports
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1



  • Fibroblast
  • Mycoplasma
  • Rac1
  • Tunneling nanotube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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