Biofilms of the non-tuberculous Mycobacterium chelonae form an extracellular matrix and display distinct expression patterns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Perla Vega-Dominguez
  • Eliza Peterson
  • Min Pan
  • Alessandro Di Maio
  • Saumya Singh
  • Siva Umapathy
  • Deepak K Saini
  • Nitin Baliga

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Institute for Systems Genomics, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030-6403, USA.
  • Indian Institute of Science


Mycobacterium chelonae is an environmental, non-tuberculous mycobacterial species, capable of causing infections in humans. Biofilm formation is a key strategy used by M. chelonae in colonising niches in the environment and in the host. We studied a water-air interface (pellicle) biofilm of M. chelonae using a wide array of approaches to outline the molecular structure and composition of the biofilm. Scanning electron micrographs showed that M. chelonae biofilms produced an extracellular matrix. Using a combination of biochemical analysis, Raman spectroscopy, and fluorescence microscopy, we showed the matrix to consist of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and eDNA. Glucose was the predominant sugar present in the biofilm matrix, and its relative abundance decreased in late (established) biofilms. RNA-seq analysis of the biofilms showed upregulation of genes involved in redox metabolism. Additionally, genes involved in mycolic acid, other lipid and glyoxylate metabolism were also upregulated in the early biofilms.

Bibliographic note

© 2020 The Authors.


Original languageEnglish
Article number100043
JournalThe Cell Surface
Early online date5 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Biofilms, Extracellular matrix, Lipids, Mycobacterium chelonae, Non-tuberculous mycobacteria, Raman spectroscopy