Nine caprine and ovine mycoplasma strains, said to be indistinguishable serologically from Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides (the causative organism of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia; CBPP) were examined in mice by (1) a mycoplasmaemia test, and (2) a cross-protection test. Of the nine strains, two from goats belonged to a small colony (SC) type; four caprine and three ovine strains belonged to a large colony (LC) type.
The two SC strains — like a single SC strain examined in an earlier study — were indistinguishable from genuine M. mycoides subsp. mycoides as isolated from CBPP. They produced mycoplasmaemia readily. In a cross-protection test, the two SC strains and a CBPP strain immunized completely against each other.
Of the seven LC strains, six — like six LC strains examined in an earlier study — were easily distinguished from genuine M. mycoides subsp. mycoides; except for one that was not tested, all were shown to lack the ability to produce mycoplasmaemia readily. In cross-protection tests all six strains immunized partially but not completely against a CBPP strain.
The seventh LC strain (Mankefår 2833) was exceptional: it produced mycoplasmaemia readily, resembling the SC strains in this respect. Like other LC strains, in cross-protection tests it protected only partially against a CBPP strain. Strain Mankefår 2833 was isolated in ca. 1965 by Brack from a Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) in a German zoo.
The ability of Mankefår 2833 to produce mycoplasmaemia enabled it to be used as a challenge strain in cross-protection tests. For the purpose of such tests the collection of nine mycoplasma strains referred to above was augmented with six LC strains from an earlier study. Partial but not complete protection against Mankefår 2833 was produced by two caprine SC strains, one CBPP strain, and nine LC strains. Three further LC strains gave protection that may have been as strong as that produced by the homologous strain, but confirmatory experiments are needed. A strain of M. mycoides subsp. capri gave no protection against Mankefår 2833.
Small colony (SC) strains of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides from contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and from goats were compared with large colony (LC) strains of so-called M. mycoides subsp. mycoides from goats and sheep by means of a cross-protection test in which mice were challenged with M. mycoides subsp. capri. Of 13 LC strains, all gave partial cross-protection, and 11 were shown to be more closely related than four SC strains to subspecies capri. In a further experiment, six SC strains--three from CBPP and three from goats--all gave weak partial cross-protection against subspecies capri.
The ‘Mycoplasma mycoides cluster’ comprises the ruminant pathogens Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides the causative agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae the agent of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capricolum, Mycoplasma leachii and Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri. CBPP and CCPP are major livestock diseases and impact the agricultural sector especially in developing countries through reduced food-supply and international trade restrictions. In addition, these diseases are a threat to disease-free countries. We used a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) approach to gain insights into the demographic history of and phylogenetic relationships among the members of the ‘M. mycoides cluster’. We collected partial sequences from seven housekeeping genes representing a total of 3,816 base pairs from 118 strains within this cluster, and five strains isolated from wild Caprinae. Strikingly, the origin of the ‘M. mycoides cluster’ dates to about 10,000 years ago, suggesting that the establishment and spread of the cluster coincided with livestock domestication. In addition, we show that hybridization and recombination may be important factors in the evolutionary history of the cluster.
The ELISA and an immunoblotting technique were used to study F38-type mycoplasmas - an important cause of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia - and a number of related mycoplasma species, subspecies, types or serogroups. Two-way ELISA cross-reactivity was demonstrated between five mycoplasmas, namely strain F38, Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides (LC strain), M. equigenitalium, M. primatum and bovine serogroup 7. In addition one-way cross-reactivity was demonstrated between F38 and each of the following mycoplasmas: M. mycoides subsp. mycoides (two SC strains), M. mycoides subsp. capri, and bovine serogroup L. F38 and M. capricolum did not cross-react. Immunoblot analysis, unlike ELISA, revealed that F38 and M. capricolum were closely related. At least four major protein antigens were shared between F38, M. mycoides subsp. mycoides (SC and LC strains), M. mycoides subsp. capri and bovine serogroup 7. The ELISA cross-reactions (above) shown by M. equigenitalium and M. primatum with each other, with F38 and with other mycoplasmas were not apparent by immunoblotting.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is the most serious cattle disease in Africa, caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small-colony type (SC). CBPP control strategies currently rely on vaccination with a vaccine based on live attenuated strains of the organism. Recently, an lppQ− mutant of the existing vaccine strain T1/44 has been developed (Janis et al., 2008). This T1lppQ− mutant strain is devoid of lipoprotein LppQ, a potential virulence attribute of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC. It is designated as a potential live DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals) vaccine strain allowing both serological and etiological differentiation. The present paper reports on the validation of a control strategy for CBPP in cattle, whereby a TaqMan real-time PCR based on the lppQ gene has been developed for the direct detection of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC in ex vivo bronchoalveolar lavage fluids of cows and for the discrimination of wild type strains from the lppQ− mutant vaccine strain.
Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC; TaqMan real-time PCR; Bronchoalveolar lavage fluids; lppQ− mutant vaccine strain; DIVA
A recombinant antigen cocktail enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for diagnosis of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) was developed after careful selection of antigens among one-third of the surface proteome proteins of the infectious agent Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small colony (M. mycoides SC). First, a miniaturized and parallelized assay system employing antigen suspension bead array technology was used to screen 97 bovine sera for humoral immune responses toward 61 recombinant surface proteins from M. mycoides SC. Statistical analysis of the data resulted in selection of eight proteins that showed strong serologic responses in CBPP-affected sera and minimal reactivity in negative control sera, with P values of <10−6. Only minor cross-reactivity to hyperimmune sera against other mycoplasmas was observed. When applied in an ELISA, the cocktail of eight recombinant antigens allowed a fivefold signal separation between 24 CBPP-affected and 23 CBPP-free sera from different geographical origins. No false-positive results and only two false-negative results were obtained. In conclusion, the selected recombinant mycoplasma antigens qualified as highly specific markers for CBPP and could be employed in both a suspension bead array platform and a cocktail ELISA setting. This set of proteins and technologies therefore offers a powerful combination to drive and further improve serological assays toward reliable, simple, and cost-effective diagnosis of CBPP.
In vivo methods were used to study the F38-type mycoplasma in parallel with related mycoplasmas. Three of five strains of 'bovine serogroup 7' with an unknown history of subculture produced mycoplasmaemia in mice inoculated intraperitoneally. A strain of 'bovine serogroup L' also produced mycoplasmaemia, but no evidence of similar ability could be found for single strains of Mycoplasma capricolum, M. equigenitalium and M. primatum, or for two strains of the F38-type mycoplasma. In cross-immunization tests a bovine serogroup 7 strain (NCTC 10133) and a strain ('Blenheim') of the SC (small colony) type of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides were used for the purpose of challenge. Cross-protection was described as 'complete' or 'partial', depending on whether it was as great as, or less than, that produced by homologous vaccine. Although strain NCTC 10133 protected strongly, possibly completely, against Blenheim, and Blenheim gave partial protection against NCTC 10133, challenge with NCTC 10133 and Blenheim gave strikingly different results. Thus (1) F38-type strains, M equigenitalium and M. primatum all gave partial cross-protection against NCTC 10133 but not against Blenheim, (2) NCTC 10133, unlike Blenheim, was seldom susceptible to partial cross-protection by LC (large colony) strains of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides, and (3) three SC strains - which would have protected completely against Blenheim - protected only partially against NCTC 10133. NCTC 10133 and Blenheim were similar, however, in that M. capricolum and M. mycoides subsp. capri failed to cross-protect against them both.
A latex agglutination test (LAT) has been developed for the diagnosis of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP). The latex microspheres were coated with MmmSC polyclonal immunoglobulin G antiserum and detected MmmSC antigen in the serum of cattle infected with CBPP and in growth medium containing MmmSC. The specific antigen recognizsed by this test appeared to be the capsular polysaccharide (CPS). The LAT recognized all 23 strains of MmmSC examined in this study, with a sensitivity level of 2 ng of CPS, or the equivalent of 5 × 103 CFU, in a reaction volume of 0.03 ml. Therefore, rapid identification of MmmSC cultures should be possible. Agglutination was also observed with the related goat pathogens and “Mycoplasma mycoides” cluster members Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides large colony biotype (four of six strains positive) and Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (three of six strains positive), in agreement with the suggestion that these latter two mycoplasmas may in fact represent a single species (although collectively exhibiting two capsular serotypes). Comparisons in diagnosis with the complement fixation test (CFT) were made by using African field sera from CBPP-infected cattle. After 2 (or 3) min of incubation, the test detected 55% (or 61%) of CFT-positive sera and 29% (or 40%) of CFT-negative sera, with an overall correlation in diagnosis of 62% (or 61%). The rates for false-positive diagnoses made by using “known” CBPP-negative sera from the United Kingdom were 3 or 13% after 2 or 3 min of incubation, respectively. The data agree with previous findings that some CBPP CFT-negative misdiagnoses may occur due to “antibody eclipsing” by excess circulating antigen. The LAT combines low cost and high specificity with ease of application in the field, without the need for any specialist training or equipment.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small-colony type (SC) is among the most serious threats for livestock producers in Africa. Glycerol metabolism-associated H2O2 production seems to play a crucial role in virulence of this mycoplasma. A wide number of attenuated strains of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC are currently used in Africa as live vaccines. Glycerol metabolism is not affected in these vaccine strains and therefore it does not seem to be the determinant of their attenuation. A non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the bgl gene coding for the 6-phospho-β-glucosidase (Bgl) has been described recently. The SNP differentiates virulent African strains isolated from outbreaks with severe CBPP, which express the Bgl isoform Val204, from strains to be considered less virulent isolated from CBPP outbreaks with low mortality and vaccine strains, which express the Bgl isoform Ala204.
Strains of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC considered virulent and possessing the Bgl isoform Val204, but not strains with the Bgl isoform Ala204, do trigger elevated levels of damage to embryonic bovine lung (EBL) cells upon incubation with the disaccharides (i.e., β-D-glucosides) sucrose and lactose. However, strains expressing the Bgl isoform Val204 show a lower hydrolysing activity on the chromogenic substrate p-nitrophenyl-β-D-glucopyranoside (pNPbG) when compared to strains that possess the Bgl isoform Ala204. Defective activity of Bgl in M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC does not lead to H2O2 production. Rather, the viability during addition of β-D-glucosides in medium-free buffers is higher for strains harbouring the Bgl isoform Val204 than for those with the isoform Ala204.
Our results indicate that the studied SNP in the bgl gene is one possible cause of the difference in bacterial virulence among strains of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC. Bgl does not act as a direct virulence factor, but strains possessing the Bgl isoform Val204 with low hydrolysing activity are more prone to survive in environments that contain high levels of β-D-glucosides, thus contributing in some extent to mycoplasmaemia.
The lipoprotein LppQ is the most prominent antigen of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small colony type (SC) during infection of cattle. This pathogen causes contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), a devastating disease of considerable socio-economic importance in many countries worldwide. The dominant antigenicity and high specificity for M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC of lipoprotein LppQ have been exploited for serological diagnosis and for epidemiological investigations of CBPP. Scanning electron microscopy and immunogold labelling were used to provide ultrastructural evidence that LppQ is located to the cell membrane at the outer surface of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC. The selectivity and specificity of this method were demonstrated through discriminating localization of extracellular (i.e., in the zone of contact with host cells) vs. integral membrane domains of LppQ. Thus, our findings support the suggestion that the accessible N-terminal domain of LppQ is surface exposed and such surface localization may be implicated in the pathogenesis of CBPP.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP); Immunogold labeling; Lipoprotein LppQ; Domain analysis; Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC; Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
As contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is spreading fast in many African countries, there is an increasing demand for rapid and sensitive diagnostic methods that can be used to confirm the initial diagnosis based on clinical symptoms or pathological findings. Two PCR-based diagnostic systems for identification of the infectious agent, Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC (M. mycoides SC), in various samples are presented. Both systems involve group-specific amplification of the two 16S rRNA genes from mycoplasmas of the M. mycoides cluster. The laser-induced fluorescence assay is based on a unique sequence length difference between the two 16S rRNA genes in M. mycoides SC. This region was amplified by PCR, and the products were separated by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in a DNA sequencer. The resulting electropherogram showed two peaks for strains of M. mycoides SC and one peak for all other members of the M. mycoides cluster. The second system was based on restriction endonuclease analysis and agarose gel electrophoresis. Restriction of amplicons from a region containing a polymorphism, which is found in M. mycoides SC only, resulted in an extra band on the agarose gel because an AluI site is lacking in the rrnA operon. Specimens from cows with postmortem signs of CBPP were analyzed with the two PCR systems. M. mycoides SC was clearly identified in pleural fluid and lung tissue, and the methods were found to be robust and rapid. The results were in agreement with those obtained by conventional diagnostic techniques.
The electrophoretic patterns of cell proteins in polyacrylamide gels were used for the study of several taxonomic problems in the Mycoplasmatales. The patterns of five Mycoplasma hominis strains showed marked differences that corresponded with their known serological and nucleic acid heterogeneity. The patterns of three M. mycoides var. mycoides strains isolated in different countries were essentially identical. The electrophoretic patterns of several caprine strains resembled those of M. mycoides var. mycoides, supporting their classification as M. mycoides var. capri. Strain B3, a swine isolate, accordingly was tentatively identified as M. mycoides var. capri. The bovine mastitis strain M. agalactiae var. bovis possessed a pattern basically similar to that of the goat mastitis strain M. agalactiae, supporting the inclusion of both strains in one species. Three M. pulmonis strains isolated from rats or tissue cultures showed nearly identical patterns. The pattern of the toxigenic M. neurolyticum (Sabin A) strain resembled but was not identical with that of the nontoxigenic PG28 strain. The avian Mycoplasma species, M. gallisepticum, M. meleagridis, M. synoviae, M. gallinarum, and M. iners showed easily distinguishable and specific patterns, supporting their present classification in different species. Several improvements in the electrophoretic technique are described, and its advantages and limitations as a taxonomic tool are discussed.
Two unidentified mycoplasmas, N3 and N11, isolated from the respiratory tract of horses, were found to cross-react with strains of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides in indirect immunofluorescence tests, growth-inhibition tests carried out by the running drop/agar-well method, and in complement-fixation and double immunodiffusion tests. Serologically, the equine mycoplasmas were not completely identical with any of the reference strains of M. mycoides with which they were compared. Their cultural characteristics, ability to digest coagulated serum and casein, and survival at 45 degrees C, however, suggested that they were more closely related to strains of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides, such as Y-goat, which are found in goats, than to strains of that subspecies which are pathogenic for cattle.
In two trials the efficacy of inactivated vaccines against contagious bovine pleuropneumonia was tested by exposing vaccinated cattle to droplet infection provided by close contact with experimentally infected 'donors'. Complete protection was given by an extreme form of vaccination in which a heavy suspension of killed Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides emulsified with Freund's complete adjuvant was given in two large doses. 'Mouse-protective antibody' (MPA) was also produced, i.e. serum transferred to mice 2-4 h before intraperitoneal challenge prevented the development of mycoplasmaemia. However, the study did not answer the question 'Is MPA protective for cattle?'. No protection was given by a milder form of vaccination in which a lighter suspension of killed mycoplasmas emulsified with Freund's incomplete adjuvant was given in a comparatively small dose on a single occasion.
Specific humoral immune responses in a clinical trial on cattle for vaccines against contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) were investigated. The trial included a subunit vaccine consisting of five recombinant putative variable surface proteins of the infectious agent Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small colony type (M. mycoides SC) compared to the currently approved attenuated vaccine strain T1/44 and untreated controls. Humoral immune responses to 65 individual recombinant surface proteins of M. mycoides SC were monitored by a recently developed bead-based array assay. Responses to the subunit vaccine components were found to be weak. Animals vaccinated with this vaccine were not protected and had CBPP lesions similar to those of the untreated controls. In correlating protein-specific humoral responses to T1/44-induced immunity, five proteins associated with a protective immune response were identified by statistical evaluation, namely, MSC_1046 (LppQ), MSC_0271, MSC_0136, MSC_0079, and MSC_0431. These five proteins may be important candidates in the development of a novel subunit vaccine against CBPP.
So-called LC strains of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides and, where appropriate, SC strains, were examined, together with M. mycoides subsp. capri strains, by growth, fermentation, and antibiotic-sensitivity tests. Growth curves in BVF-OS medium showed that, from the 6th until at least the 19th day of incubation, strain MankefÃ¥r 2833 had a viable count strikingly higher than that of any other LC strain. Its robust growth properties may explain its ability--unusual among LC strains--to produce mycoplasmaemia readily in mice. Strain 143-A66 Conn, also shown by earlier experiments in mice to possess unusual properties, lost viability more rapidly than any other LC strain between the 13th and 19th days of incubation. The viable count of a subsp. capri strain was considerably lower than that of any LC strain for much of the period between days 6 and 19. In fermentation tests with 27 substrates and sensitivity tests with 11 antibiotics the strains gave results that, in all but the following respects, were uniform. Sorbitol was fermented to varying degrees by all the LC and subsp. capri strains tested but was unaffected by the SC strains. The LC and subsp. capri strains were in general more resistant than the SC strains to streptomycin. The growth of the LC strains, much more than that of the other strains, was greatly stimulated by the presence of fermentable substrate.
Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides, is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. The current live vaccine T1/44 has limited efficacy and occasionally leads to severe side effects in the animals. A better understanding of the immune responses triggered by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides and their role in disease progression will help to facilitate the design of a rational vaccine. Currently, knowledge of cytokines involved in immunity and immunopathology in CBPP is rather limited. The aim of this study was to characterize the in vivo plasma concentrations of the cytokines TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-10 and the overall role of CD4+ T cells in the development of cytokine levels during a primary infection. Plasma cytokine concentrations in two groups of cattle (CD4+ T cell-depleted and non-depleted cattle) experimentally infected with Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides were measured and their relationship to the clinical outcomes was investigated.
Plasma cytokine concentrations varied between animals in each group. Depletion of CD4+ T cells did not induce significant changes in plasma levels of TNF-α, IL-4, and IL-10, suggesting a minor role of CD4+ T cells in regulation or production of the three cytokines during the time window of depletion (1-2 weeks post depletion). Unexpectedly, the IFN-γ concentrations were slightly, but statistically significantly higher in the depleted group (p < 0.05) between week three and four post infection. Three CD4+ T cell-depleted animals that experienced severe disease, had high levels of TNF-α and IFN-γ. Only one severely diseased non-depleted animal showed a high serum concentration of IL-4 post infection.
Comparison of most severely diseased animals, which had to be euthanized prior to the expected date, versus less severe diseased animals, irrespective of the depletion status, suggested that high TNF-α levels are correlated with more severe pathology in concomitance with high IFN-γ levels.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia; Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides; Cytokines; TNF-α; IFN-γ; IL-4; IL-10
Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is the most important chronic pulmonary disease of cattle on the African continent causing severe economic losses. The disease, caused by infection with Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides is transmitted by animal contact and develops slowly into a chronic form preventing an early clinical diagnosis. Because available vaccines confer a low protection rate and short-lived immunity, the rapid diagnosis of infected animals combined with traditional curbing measures is seen as the best way to control the disease. While traditional labour-intensive bacteriological methods for the detection of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides have been replaced by molecular genetic techniques in the last two decades, these latter approaches require well-equipped laboratories and specialized personnel for the diagnosis. This is a handicap in areas where CBPP is endemic and early diagnosis is essential.
We present a rapid, sensitive and specific diagnostic tool for M. mycoides subsp. mycoides detection based on isothermal loop-mediated amplification (LAMP) that is applicable to field conditions. The primer set developed is highly specific and sensitive enough to diagnose clinical cases without prior cultivation of the organism. The LAMP assay detects M. mycoides subsp. mycoides DNA directly from crude samples of pulmonary/pleural fluids and serum/plasma within an hour using a simple dilution protocol. A photometric detection of LAMP products allows the real-time visualisation of the amplification curve and the application of a melting curve/re-association analysis presents a means of quality assurance based on the predetermined strand-inherent temperature profile supporting the diagnosis.
The CBPP LAMP developed in a robust kit format can be run on a battery-driven mobile device to rapidly detect M. mycoides subsp. mycoides infections from clinical or post mortem samples. The stringent innate quality control allows a conclusive on-site diagnosis of CBPP such as during farm or slaughter house inspections.
CBPP Mycoplasma mycoides; Isothermal; Loop-mediated amplification LAMP; Molecular diagnostic; Field test
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides, is an important livestock disease in Africa. The current control measures rely on a vaccine with limited efficacy and occasional severe side effects. Knowledge of the protective arms of immunity involved in this disease will be beneficial for the development of an improved vaccine. In previous studies on cattle infected with M. mycoides subsp. mycoides, a correlation was detected between the levels of mycoplasma-specific IFN-γ-secreting CD4+ T lymphocytes and reduced clinical signs. However, no cause and effect has been established, and the role of such cells and of protective responses acquired during a primary infection is not known.
We investigated the role of CD4+ T lymphocytes in CBPP by comparing disease patterns and post mortem findings between CD4+ T cell depleted and non-depleted cattle. The depletion was carried out using several injections of BoCD4 specific murine monoclonal antibody on day 6 after experimental endotracheal infection with the strain Afadé. All cattle were monitored clinically daily and sacrificed 28-30 days post-infection. Statistically significant but small differences were observed in the mortality rate between the depleted and non-depleted animals. However, no differences in clinical parameters (fever, signs of respiratory distress) and pathological lesions were observed, despite elimination of CD4+ T cells for more than a week. The slightly higher mortality in the depleted group suggests a minor role of CD4+ T cells in control of CBPP.
Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides small colony (SC) is the aetiologic agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), a respiratory disease causing important losses in cattle production. The publication of the genome sequence of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC should facilitate the identification of putative virulence factors. However, real progress in the study of molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity also requires efficient molecular tools for gene inactivation. In the present study, we have developed a transposon-based approach for the random mutagenesis of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC. A PCR-based screening assay enabled the characterization of several mutants with knockouts of genes potentially involved in pathogenicity. The initial transposon was further improved by combining it with the transposon γδ TnpR/res recombination system to allow the production of unmarked mutations. Using this approach, we isolated a mutant free of antibiotic-resistance genes, in which the gene encoding the main lipoprotein LppQ was disrupted. The mutant was found to express only residual amounts of the truncated N-terminal end of LppQ. This approach opens the way to study virulence factors and pathogen-host interactions of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC and to develop new, genetically defined vaccine strains.
Genomic restriction maps for the small colony (SC) strains (PG1, KH3J, Gladysdale, and V5) of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides (the agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia) and for Mycoplasma strain PG50 (classified as bovine serogroup 7), with respective sizes of 1,280, 1,280, 1,260, 1,230, and 1,040 kbp, were compared with the map (1,200 kbp) for a large colony strain (Y goat) of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides. The number and order of all mapped restriction sites were fully conserved in the SC genomes, as were the approximate positions of mapped loci. A number of these restriction sites in the Y genome and some, but fewer, in the PG50 genome appeared to be conserved. The SC and large colony strains shared conservation in the relative positions of the mapped loci, except for rpoC.
The cytotoxicities of various strains of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small colony type (SC), the agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), were measured in vitro using embryonic calf nasal epithelial (ECaNEp) cells. Strains isolated from acute cases of CBPP induced high cytotoxicity in the presence of glycerol, concomitant with the release of large amounts of toxic H2O2 that were found to be translocated into the cytoplasms of the host cells by close contact of the Mycoplasma strains with the host cells. Currently used vaccine strains also showed high cytotoxicity and high H2O2 release, indicating that they are attenuated in another virulence attribute. Strains isolated from recent European outbreaks of CBPP with mild clinical signs, which are characterized by a defect in the glycerol uptake system, released small amounts of H2O2 and showed low cytotoxicity to ECaNEp cells. M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC strain PG1 released large amounts of H2O2 but was only slightly cytotoxic. PG1 was found to have a reduced capacity to bind to ECaNEp cells and was unable to translocate H2O2 into the bovine cells, in contrast to virulent strains that release large amounts of H2O2. Thus, an efficient translocation of H2O2 into host cells is a prerequisite for the cytotoxic effect and requires an intact adhesion mechanism to ensure a close contact between mycoplasmas and host cells.
The phylogenetically related Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capricolum and M. mycoides subsp. mycoides biotype Large Colony are two small-ruminant pathogens involved in contagious agalactia. Their respective contributions to clinical outbreaks are not well documented, because they are difficult to differentiate with the current diagnostic techniques. In order to identify DNA sequences specific to one taxon or the other, a suppression-subtractive hybridization approach was developed. DNA fragments resulting from the reciprocal subtraction of the type strains were used as probes on a panel of M. capricolum subsp. capricolum and M. mycoides subsp. mycoides biotype Large Colony strains to assess their intrataxon specificity. Due to a high intrataxon polymorphism and important cross-reactions between taxa, a single DNA fragment was shown to be specific for M. capricolum subsp. capricolum and to be present in all M. capricolum subsp. capricolum field isolates tested in this study. A PCR assay targeting the corresponding gene (simpA51) was designed that resulted in a 560-bp amplification only in M. capricolum subsp. capricolum and in M. capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae (the etiological agent of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia). simpA51 was further improved to generate a multiplex PCR (multA51) that allows the differentiation of M. capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae from M. capricolum subsp. capricolum. Both the simpA51 and multA51 assays accurately identify M. capricolum subsp. capricolum among other mycoplasmas, including all members of the M. mycoides cluster. simpA51 and multA51 PCRs are proposed as sensitive and robust tools for the specific identification of M. capricolum subsp. capricolum and M. capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae.
The Mycoplasma mycoides cluster consists of five species or subspecies that are ruminant pathogens. One subspecies, Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides Small Colony (MmmSC), is the causative agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia. Its very close relative, Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (Mmc), is a more ubiquitous pathogen in small ruminants causing mastitis, arthritis, keratitis, pneumonia and septicaemia and is also found as saprophyte in the ear canal. To understand the genetics underlying these phenotypic differences, we compared the MmmSC PG1 type strain genome, which was already available, with the genome of an Mmc field strain (95010) that was sequenced in this study. We also compared the 95010 genome with the recently published genome of another Mmc strain (GM12) to evaluate Mmc strain diversity.
The MmmSC PG1 genome is 1,212 kbp and that of Mmc 95010 is ca. 58 kbp shorter. Most of the sequences present in PG1 but not 95010 are highly repeated Insertion Sequences (three types of IS) and large duplicated DNA fragments. The 95010 genome contains five types of IS, present in fewer copies than in PG1, and two copies of an integrative conjugative element. These mobile genetic elements have played a key role in genome plasticity, leading to inversions of large DNA fragments. Comparison of the two genomes suggested a marked decay of the PG1 genome that seems to be correlated with a greater number of IS. The repertoire of gene families encoding surface proteins is smaller in PG1. Several genes involved in polysaccharide metabolism and protein degradation are also absent from, or degraded in, PG1.
The genome of MmmSC PG1 is larger than that of Mmc 95010, its very close relative, but has less coding capacity. This is the result of large genetic rearrangements due to mobile elements that have also led to marked gene decay. This is consistent with a non-adaptative genomic complexity theory, allowing duplications or pseudogenes to be maintained in the absence of adaptive selection that would lead to purifying selection and genome streamlining over longer evolutionary times. These findings also suggest that MmmSC only recently adapted to its bovine host.
The genes encoding the 62-kDa lipoproteins from the
Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides
large-colony type (LC) strain Y-goat and the M. mycoides
subsp. capri strain PG3 were cloned and analyzed by
sequencing. These two lipoproteins have been named LppA[MmymyLC] and
LppA[Mmyca], and their corresponding genes have been named
lppA[MmymyLC] and lppA[Mmyca],
respectively. The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of these
two lipoproteins showed a very high degree of similarity between these
two mycoplasmas. Given the sequence data, LppA seems to fulfill the
same structural functions as the previously described major
lipoproteins P72 of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides
small-colony type and P67 of the Mycoplasma species bovine
group 7. Based on lppA gene sequences of M.
mycoides subsp. mycoides LC and M.
mycoides subsp. capri type strains, a specific PCR
assay was developed so that it amplified this gene in all field strains
of the two species analyzed in this study but not in the other members
of the M. mycoides cluster. Analysis of the PCR-amplified
lppA genes with frequently cutting restriction enzymes
showed a certain degree of genetic variability which, however, did not
cluster the two subspecies. This PCR therefore allows a rapid
identification of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides
LC and M. mycoides subsp. capri but does not
distinguish between these two closely related subspecies. LppA was
expressed in Escherichia coli K-12 and used for the
production of polyclonal mouse antiserum. Antibodies against
recombinant LppA[MmymyLC] reacted with a 62-kDa protein in all
M. mycoides subsp. mycoides LC and M.
mycoides subsp. capri type strains and field strains
tested but not with the other members of the M. mycoides
cluster, thus showing the antigenic specificity of LppA and further
supporting the concept that a close relationship exists between these