Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mycoplasma hominis

Every now and then, mycoplasma contamination rears its ugly head and threatens tissue culture experiments. According to a paper in the Journal of Cell Science (albeit published in 1966), the most common variety of mycoplasma found in contaminated cultures is M. hominis type 1. Mycoplasma hominis is most commonly found in the genital area. What are these people doing with their cultures to get them infected?


Kamel said...

(OK, OK, M. hominis is also, less frequently, found in the upper respiratory tract though curiously other respiratory mycoplasmas are not nearly as common TC contaminants)

Anonymous said...

We routinely test (or, more simply, treat on spec) our cells for mycoplasma, because they can screw up many of our immune-based assays.

What always amused me was when I would screen my cells and find out they were positive, and someone would sternly tell me to keep my awful contaminated cells in a different incubator.

"Did you screen yours?" I would ask.

"No," they would invariably say.

Their cells were almost certainly contaminated, too, they just were keeping their head in the sand by not testing. In my experience, the majority of cells that have been passed for more than a few months are contaminated by mycoplasma. (And that includes cells passed by highly experience and skilled researchers.)

So, Kamel, have you tested your cells?

Treatment with ciprofloxacin is not guaranteed to eliminate mycoplasma, but has an excellent chance of doing so; I've never seen it fail, myself.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if grad students are more likely to harbor cipro-resistant mycoplasma than the general population...

Kamel said...

So, Kamel, have you tested your cells?

Yep, as recently as last week when I passed them off to a labmate whose cells had tested positive.

I was just amused that the most common TC mycoplasma contaminant is primarily a genital pathogen.

Bayman said...

In my experience, the majority of cells that have been passed for more than a few months are contaminated by mycoplasma. (And that includes cells passed by highly experience and skilled researchers.)

Ian, lemme guess - are you a pen/strep kinda guy?

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