Mycoplasma genitalium

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Mycoplasma genitalium
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Division: Firmicutes
Class: Mollicutes
Order: Mycoplasmatales
Family: Mycoplasmataceae
Genus: Mycoplasma
Species: Mycoplasma genitalium

Mycoplasma genitalium is a small parasitic bacterium which lives on the ciliated epithelial cells of the primate genital and respiratory tracts.

It has one of the smallest known genomes,[1] and is one of the smallest bacteria. Other very small bacteria are the endosymbiont Candidatus Carsonella ruddii, and the recently discovered bacterium Nanoarchaeum. The smallest known free living bacterium is Pelagibacter ubique with 1.3 Mb.[2]

Origin and isolation[change | change source]

Mycoplasma genitalium was originally isolated in 1980 from the urethras of two male humans with non-gonococcal urethritis. Infection by M. genitalium is fairly common, and is transmitted between partners during unprotected sexual intercourse. It can be treated with antibiotics. Much remains to be discovered about its role in sexual disease.

Genome[change | change source]

M. genitalium has 525 genes.[3][4][5] There are 482 protein-encoding genes in a circular chromosome of 582,970 base pairs. An initial study of the M. genitalium genome with shotgun sequencing was done by Peterson in 1993. It was then sequenced by Fraser and others. It was found to contain only 470 predicted coding regions, including genes required for DNA replication, transcription and translation, DNA repair, cellular transport, and energy metabolism.[3] It was the second complete bacterial genome ever sequenced, after Haemophilus influenzae.

References[change | change source]

  1. Apart from viruses
  2. !.3 Mb = 1.3 million base pairs. Giovannoni, Stephen J. et al 2005. Genome streamlining in a cosmopolitan oceanic bacterium. Science 309 (5738): 1242–1245. [1]
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fraser, Claire M. et al 1995. The minimal gene complement of Mycoplasma genitalium. Science 270 (5235): 397–404. [2]
  4. "Birth of the digital bacteria". New Scientist 215 (2875): 19. 2012-07-28.
  5. Karr, Jonathan R. et al 2012. A whole-cell computational model predicts phenotype from genotype. Cell 150 (2): 389-401. [3]