Microscopy and genomic analysis of Mycoplasma parvum strain Indiana

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Abstract

Mycoplasma parvum [Eperythrozoon parvum] is the second hemotrophic mycoplasma (hemoplasma) described in pigs. Unlike M. suis, its closest phylogenetic relative, M. parvum, is considered a non-pathogenic bacterium in this host species. Natural infection of a domestic, 6-month-old splenectomized pig with M. parvum strain Indiana is described herein. Light and scanning electron microscopy of the bacteria were performed in addition to whole genome sequencing, analysis, and comparison to the genome of M. suis strain Illinois. Neither clinical signs nor anemia were observed during the infection. Microscopy analyses revealed coccoid to rod- shaped organisms varying from 0.2 to 0.5 μm; they were observed individually or in short chains by both light and electron microscopy, however less than 30% of the red blood cells were infected at peak bacteremia. The single circular chromosome of M. parvum was only 564 395 bp, smaller than M. genitalium, previously considered the tiniest member of the Mollicutes. Its general genomic features were similar to others in this class and species circumscription was verified by phylogenomic analysis. A gene-by-gene comparison between M. suis and M. parvum revealed all protein coding sequences (CDS) with assigned functions were shared, including metabolic functions, transporters and putative virulence factors. However, the number of CDS in paralogous gene families was remarkably different with about half as many paralogs in M. parvum. The differences in paralogous genes may be implicated in the different pathogenic potential of these two species, however variable gene expression may also play a role. Both are areas of ongoing investigation.

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Do Nascimento, N. C., Dos Santos, A. P., Chu, Y., Guimaraes, A. M., Baird, A. N., Weil, A. B., & Messick, J. B. (2014). Microscopy and genomic analysis of Mycoplasma parvum strain Indiana. Veterinary Research, 45(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13567-014-0086-7

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