Roachford OSE, Nelson KE, Mohapatra BR

Comparative genomics of four Mycoplasma species of the human urogenital tract: Analysis of their core genomes and virulence genes.

International journal of medical microbiology : IJMM. 2017-12-01; 307.8: 508-520.

The variation in Mycoplasma lipoproteins attributed to genome rearrangements and genetic insertions leads to phenotypic plasticity that allows for the evasion of the host's defence system and pathogenesis. This paper compared for the first time the genomes of four human urogenital Mycoplasma species (M. penetrans HF-2, M. fermentans JER, M. genitalium G37 and M. hominis PG21) to categorise the metabolic functions of the core genes and to assess the effects of tandem repeats, phage-like genetic elements and prophages on the virulence genes. The results of this comparative in silico genomic analysis revealed that the genes constituting their core genomes can be separated into three distinct categories: nuclear metabolism, protein metabolism and energy generation each making up 52%, 31% and 23%, respectively. The genomes have repeat sequences ranging from 3.7% in M. hominis PG21 to 9.5% in M. fermentans JER. Tandem repeats (mostly minisatellites) and phage-like proteins (including DNA gyrases/topoisomerases) were randomly distributed in the Mycoplasma genomes. Here, we identified a coiled-coil structure containing protein in M. penetrans HF-2 which is significantly similar to the Mem protein of M. fermentans ɸMFV1. Therefore, a Mycoplasma prophage seems to be embedded within M. penetrans HF-2 unannotated genome. To the best of our knowledge, no Mycoplasma phages or prophages have been detected in M. penetrans. This study is important not only in understanding the complex genetic factors involved in phenotypic plasticity and virulence in the relatively understudied Mycoplasma species but also in elucidating the effective arrangement of their redundant minimal genomes.

PMID: 28927691