The evolving saga of Mycoplasma genitalium

Murry A. Stein, Joel B. Baseman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mycoplasma genitalium has the smallest genome of any organism capable of independent growth. Sequence comparisons among completed bacterial genomes indicate that the 580-kb genome of M. genitalium arose by minimization of the 816-kb genome of the human respiratory pathogen Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Thus, the selective pressure that has led to genome minimization renders M. genitalium an ideal starting organism to define determinants essential for life. Further, the advent of molecular and serological diagnostic approaches has established M. genitalium as a significant cause of human infection, although its highly fastidious nature has made the study of its clinical significance and pathogenesis very challenging. As such, the virulence determinants that allow this minimal organism to establish human infections, circumvent host responses, and potentially contribute to chronic infections are just beginning to be elucidated. The following review will focus on recent advances in our understanding of the biology and pathogenesis of this smallest of all bacterial pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Microbiology Newsletter
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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