DNA and protein sequence homologies between the adhesins of Mycoplasma genitalium and Mycoplasma pneumoniae

S. F. Dallo, A. Chavoya, C. J. Su, J. B. Baseman

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50 Scopus citations


Mycoplasma genitalium and Mycoplasma pneumoniae are morphologically and serologically related pathogens that colonize the human host. Their successful parasitism appears to be dependent on the product, an adhesin protein, of a gene that is carried by each of these mycoplasmas. Here we describe the cloning and determine the sequence of the structural gene for the putative adhesin of M. genitalium and compare its sequence to the counterpart P1 gene of M. pneumoniae. Regions of homology that were consistent with the observed serological cross-reactivity between these adhesins were detected at both DNA and protein levels. However, the degree of homology between these two genes and their products was much higher than anticipated. Interestingly, the A + T content of the M. genitalium adhesin gene was calculated as 60.1%, which is substantially higher than that of the P1 gene (46.5%). Comparisons of codon usage between the two organisms revealed that M. genitalium preferentially used A- and T-rich codons. A total of 65% of positions 3 and 56% of positions 1 in M. genitalium codons were either A or T, whereas M. pneumoniae utilized A or T for positions 3 and 1 at a frequency of 40 and 47%, respectively. The biased choice of the A- and T-rich codons in M. genitalium could also account for the preferential use of A- and T-rich codons in conservative amino acid substitutions found in the M. genitalium adhesin. These facts suggest that M. genitalium might have evolved independently of other human mycoplasma species, including M. pneumoniae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1059-1065
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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