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Mycoplasma genitalium: whole genome sequence analysis, recombination and population structure.

Fookes, Maria C; Hadfield, James; Harris, Simon; Parmar, Surendra; Unemo, Magnus; Jensen, Jørgen S; Thomson, Nicholas R.
BMC Genomics; 18(1): 993, 2017 12 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29281972


Although Mycoplasma genitalium is a common sexually transmitted pathogen causing clinically distinct diseases both in male and females, few genomes have been sequenced up to now, due mainly to its fastidious nature and slow growth. Hence, we lack a robust phylogenetic framework to provide insights into the population structure of the species. Currently our understanding of the nature and diversity of M. genitalium relies on molecular tests targeting specific genes or regions of the genome and knowledge is limited by a general under-testing internationally. This is set against a background of drug resistance whereby M. genitalium has developed resistance to mainly all therapeutic antimicrobials.


We sequenced 28 genomes of Mycoplasma genitalium from temporally (1980-2010) and geographically (Europe, Japan, Australia) diverse sources. All the strain showed essentially the same genomic content without any accessory regions found. However, we identified extensive recombination across their genomes with a total of 25 regions showing heightened levels of SNP density. These regions include the MgPar loci, associated with host interactions, as well as other genes that could also be involved in this role. Using these data, we generated a robust phylogeny which shows that there are two main clades with differing degrees of genomic variability. SNPs found in region V of 23S rRNA and parC were consistent with azithromycin/erythromycin and fluoroquinolone resistances, respectively, and with their phenotypic MIC data.


The sequence data here generated is essential for designing rational approaches to type and track Mycoplasma genitalium as antibiotic resistance increases. It represents a first approach to its population genetics to better appreciate the role of this organism as a sexually transmitted pathogen.
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