Mycoplasma infection can sensitize host cells to apoptosis through contribution of apoptotic-like endonuclease(s)

Irina A. Sokolova, Andrew T M Vaughan, Nikolai N. Khodarev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Mycoplasma infection may lead to various pathologies in a broad range of hosts. It has been shown that Mycoplasma may trigger cell death in cell cultures; however, the mechanism remains unknown. In the present paper we show that Mycoplasma infection of different lymphocyte and epithelial tumour cell lines leads to the inhibition of proliferation, and increased cell death, accompanied by DNA fragmentation and the morphological features of apoptosis. We also showed that this infection leads to an increased sensitivity of cells to various inducers of apoptosis targeting different signalling pathways. Finally, we show that increased apoptosis is associated with overexpression of an endonuclease produced by Mycoplasma. This endonuclease is recovered in the nuclear fraction of host cells, introduces mostly DSB and is active at neutral pH in the presence of divalent cations. Activation of this endonuclease is connected with limited proteolysis, which may be reproduced in vitro by snake venom serine proteinase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-534
Number of pages9
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Endonuclease
  • Mycoplasma
  • Serine proteases
  • Two-dimensional protein gel electrophoresis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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