The base image for this picture was a piece of Sellotape attached many years before to the wall, the tape had fallen off leaving a squarish patch of adhesive still stuck to the paint, yellowed with age. I have tried to indicate the pieces as fragmenting and becoming unstuck.
I have paired this with the X-ray of a child with a mycoplasma pneumonia. This is caused by a very small bacterial organism that, when it is breathed in, attaches to the surface cells of the bronchi.
The ability of a bacterium to invade and colonise a host depends on the ability to withstand the host’s mechanical and immunological defences. The power to invade depends on the bacterial capability to quickly and effectively attach to the host cells and avoid being expelled. Most bacteria that either live in, or infect a host make special adhesive molecules on their surfaces that interact with host cells causing the bacteria to adhere to the surface with great strength. The attachment uses extremely sticky protein glue known as an adhesin. The process of attachment is complex involving a series of processes which if disrupted interrupts the infection. One mechanism by which antibiotics work is to break down, or inhibit production of these adhesins and this allows the bacteria to be expelled from the body.