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1.  Further studies on caprine and ovine mycoplasmas related to Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides 
The Journal of Hygiene  1980;85(2):247-256.
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.
PMCID: PMC2133930  PMID: 7005327
2.  Genetic and Serological Analysis of Lipoprotein LppA in Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides LC and Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri 
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 two mycoplasmas.
PMCID: PMC95691  PMID: 10066658
3.  The ability of Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides and closely related strains from goats and sheep to immunize mice against subspecies capri. 
The Journal of Hygiene  1981;87(2):321-329.
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.
PMCID: PMC2134042  PMID: 7026674
4.  β-D-Glucoside utilization by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC: possible involvement in the control of cytotoxicity towards bovine lung cells 
BMC Microbiology  2007;7:31.
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.
PMCID: PMC1855930  PMID: 17439646
5.  The Origin of the ‘Mycoplasma mycoides Cluster’ Coincides with Domestication of Ruminants 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36150.
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.
PMCID: PMC3338596  PMID: 22558362
6.  Rapid Detection of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia by a Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC Capsular Polysaccharide-Specific Antigen Detection Latex Agglutination Test 
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.
PMCID: PMC150542  PMID: 12626448
7.  Demonstration of cross-reactive antigens in F38 and related mycoplasmas by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblotting. 
The Journal of Hygiene  1985;95(1):95-106.
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.
PMCID: PMC2129495  PMID: 2410491
8.  A study of F38-type and related mycoplasmas by mycoplasmaemia and cross-immunization tests in mice. 
The Journal of Hygiene  1984;93(3):465-473.
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.
PMCID: PMC2129469  PMID: 6392418
9.  Suppression-Subtractive Hybridization as a Strategy To Identify Taxon-Specific Sequences within the Mycoplasma mycoides Cluster: Design and Validation of an M. capricolum subsp. capricolum-Specific PCR Assay▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(4):1307-1316.
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.
PMCID: PMC2292954  PMID: 18234866
10.  Characterization of Strains of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides Small Colony Type Isolated from Recent Outbreaks of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia in Botswana and Tanzania: Evidence for a New Biotype 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2000;38(4):1419-1425.
Four strains of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small colony type (MmmSC) isolated from recent outbreaks of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) in Africa have been investigated. One Botswanan strain, M375, displayed numerous and significant phenotypic differences from both contemporary field isolates and older field and vaccine strains (African, Australian, and European strains dating back to 1936). Differences include altered morphology, reduced capsular polysaccharide production, high sensitivity to MmmSC rabbit hyperimmune antisera in vitro, and unique polymorphisms following immunoblotting. While insertion sequence analysis using IS1634 clearly indicates a close evolutionary relationship to west African strains, hybridization with IS1296 shows the absence of a band present in all other strains of MmmSC examined. The data suggest that a deletion has occurred in strain M375, which may explain its altered phenotype, including poor growth in vitro and a relative inability to cause septicemia in mice. These characteristics are also exhibited by Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae (causal agent of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia [CCPP]), against which M375 antiserum exhibited some activity in vitro (unique among the various MmmSC antisera tested). These findings may have evolutionary implications, since CCPP is believed to be lung specific and without a septicemic phase (unlike CBPP). Since M375 was isolated from a clinical case of CBPP, this novel biotype may be fairly widespread but not normally isolated due to difficulty of culture and/or a potentially altered disease syndrome. Bovine convalescent antisera (obtained from contemporary naturally infected cattle in Botswana) were active against strain M375 in an in vitro growth inhibition test but not against any other strains of MmmSC tested. There exists the possibility therefore, that strain M375 may possess a set of protective antigens different from those of other strains of MmmSC (including vaccine strains). These findings have implications for the control of the current CBPP epidemic in Africa.
PMCID: PMC86456  PMID: 10747118
11.  Isothermal loop-mediated amplification (lamp) for diagnosis of contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia 
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.
PMCID: PMC3671963  PMID: 23710975
CBPP Mycoplasma mycoides; Isothermal; Loop-mediated amplification LAMP; Molecular diagnostic; Field test
12.  Phage Library Screening for the Rapid Identification and In Vivo Testing of Candidate Genes for a DNA Vaccine against Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides Small Colony Biotype  
Infection and Immunity  2006;74(1):167-174.
A new strategy for rapidly selecting and testing genetic vaccines has been developed, in which a whole genome library is cloned into a bacteriophage λ ZAP Express vector which contains both prokaryotic (Plac) and eukaryotic (PCMV) promoters upstream of the insertion site. The phage library is plated on Escherichia coli cells, immunoblotted, and probed with hyperimmune and/or convalescent-phase antiserum to rapidly identify vaccine candidates. These are then plaque purified and grown as liquid lysates, and whole bacteriophage particles are then used directly to immunize the host, following which PCMV-driven expression of the candidate vaccine gene occurs. In the example given here, a semirandom genome library of the bovine pathogen Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small colony (SC) biotype was cloned into λ ZAP Express, and two strongly immunodominant clones, λ-A8 and λ-B1, were identified and subsequently tested for vaccine potential against M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC biotype-induced mycoplasmemia. Sequencing and immunoblotting indicated that clone λ-A8 expressed an isopropyl-β-d-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG)-inducible M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC biotype protein with a 28-kDa apparent molecular mass, identified as a previously uncharacterized putative lipoprotein (MSC_0397). Clone λ-B1 contained several full-length genes from the M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC biotype pyruvate dehydrogenase region, and two IPTG-independent polypeptides, of 29 kDa and 57 kDa, were identified on immunoblots. Following vaccination, significant anti-M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC biotype responses were observed in mice vaccinated with clones λ-A8 and λ-B1. A significant stimulation index was observed following incubation of splenocytes from mice vaccinated with clone λ-A8 with whole live M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC biotype cells, indicating cellular proliferation. After challenge, mice vaccinated with clone λ-A8 also exhibited a reduced level of mycoplasmemia compared to controls, suggesting that the MSC_0397 lipoprotein has a protective effect in the mouse model when delivered as a bacteriophage DNA vaccine. Bacteriophage-mediated immunoscreening using an appropriate vector system offers a rapid and simple technique for the identification and immediate testing of putative candidate vaccines from a variety of pathogens.
PMCID: PMC1346666  PMID: 16368970
13.  Detection of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids of cows based on a TaqMan real-time PCR discriminating wild type strains from an lppQ− mutant vaccine strain used for DIVA-strategies 
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.
PMCID: PMC2877883  PMID: 20381545
Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC; TaqMan real-time PCR; Bronchoalveolar lavage fluids; lppQ− mutant vaccine strain; DIVA
14.  Diagnosis of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia by PCR–Laser- Induced Fluorescence and PCR-Restriction Endonuclease Analysis Based on the 16S rRNA Genes of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(12):3815-3821.
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.
PMCID: PMC85820  PMID: 10565890
15.  Unmarked insertional mutagenesis in the bovine pathogen Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC 
Microbiology (Reading, England)  2008;154(Pt 8):2427-2436.
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.
PMCID: PMC2628567  PMID: 18667575
16.  Protein-Specific Analysis of Humoral Immune Responses in a Clinical Trial for Vaccines against Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia▿ †  
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.
PMCID: PMC2863394  PMID: 20357055
17.  Phylogeny of the Mycoplasma mycoides cluster as determined by sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA genes from the two rRNA operons. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1996;178(14):4131-4142.
The so-called Mycoplasma mycoides cluster consists of six species or subspecies of mycoplasmas (Mollicutes). These species are pathogenic for ruminants and some of them are of great concern in veterinary medicine. The members of the M. mycoides cluster have two rRNA operons (rrnA and rrnB). The nucleotide sequences of the 16S rRNA genes of 10 strains, representing all of the known species and subspecies of the M. mycoides cluster, were determined by direct automated solid-phase DNA sequencing. The sequences of both rRNA operons were determined by a novel strategy involving in vitro amplification by PCR with one operon-specific primer pair and one general primer pair. Interestingly, sequence differences (polymorphisms) between the two operons were observed for all strains. Two strains of M. capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae were sequenced, and 15 polymorphisms were found in the type strain (F38) and 17 polymorphisms were found in the other strain (4/2LC). Eight polymorphisms were found in the 16S rRNA genes of the M. mycoides subsp. mycoides small-colony type, and sequence length variations in a poly(A) region were observed in the 16S rRNA genes of the two operons of this species. Secondary-structure analysis showed that polymorphisms were present in both stem and loop regions. The nucleotide substitutions in the polymorphic sites of the stem regions often resulted in a change from a canonical to a noncanonical base pairing or vice versa. A compensatory mutation was never observed in the other nucleotide of the base pair. Phylogenetic analysis based on the 16S rRNA sequences indicated that Mycoplasma sp. strain PG50 should be included in the M. capricolum species group. Furthermore, the 16S rRNA sequences of M. mycoides subsp. capri and the M. mycoides subsp. mycoides large-colony type were 99.9% identical. We therefore suggest that these species be reclassified in a common species group (for instance, "Mycoplasma capri") distinct from the M. mycoides subsp. mycoides small-colony type, which formed an intermediate branch between the M. capricolum species group and the M. capri species group.
PMCID: PMC178170  PMID: 8763941
18.  Multiplex Screening of Surface Proteins from Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides Small Colony for an Antigen Cocktail Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay▿ †  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2009;16(11):1665-1674.
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.
PMCID: PMC2772386  PMID: 19726613
19.  Cytotoxicity of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides Small Colony Type to Bovine Epithelial Cells▿  
Infection and Immunity  2007;76(1):263-269.
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.
PMCID: PMC2223633  PMID: 17998309
20.  Cyto-adherence of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides to bovine lung epithelial cells 
Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides (Mmm) is the causative agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), a respiratory disease of cattle, whereas the closely related Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (Mmc) is a goat pathogen. Cyto-adherence is a crucial step in host colonization by mycoplasmas and subsequent pathogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate the interactions between Mmm and mammalian host cells by establishing a cyto-adherence flow cytometric assay and comparing tissue and species specificity of Mmm and Mmc strains.
There were little significant differences in the adherence patterns of eight different Mmm strains to adult bovine lung epithelial cells. However, there was statistically significant variation in binding to different host cells types. Highest binding was observed with lung epithelial cells, intermediate binding with endothelial cells and very low binding with fibroblasts, suggesting the presence of effective adherence of Mmm on cells lining the airways of the lung, which is the target organ for this pathogen, possibly by high expression of a specific receptor. However, binding to bovine fetal lung epithelial cells was comparably low; suggesting that the lack of severe pulmonary disease seen in many infected young calves can be explained by reduced expression of a specific receptor.
Mmm bound with high efficiency to adult bovine lung cells and less efficiently to calves or goat lung cells. The data show that cyto-adherence of Mmm is species- and tissue- specific confirming its role in colonization of the target host and subsequent infection and development of CBPP.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12917-015-0347-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4336739
Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides; Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia; Cyto-adherence; Epithelial cells
21.  Some in-vitro characters of the subspecies of Mycoplasma mycoides. 
The Journal of Hygiene  1982;89(3):521-527.
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 Mankefår 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.
PMCID: PMC2134239  PMID: 6759579
22.  The relationship of two equine mycoplasmas to Mycoplasma mycoides. 
The Journal of Hygiene  1981;87(1):93-100.
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.
PMCID: PMC2134074  PMID: 6788838
23.  Monoclonal antibodies to surface-exposes proteins of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides (small-colony strain), which causes contagious bovine pleuropneumonia. 
Outbreaks of bovine pleuropneumonia caused by small-colony strains of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides occur in Africa, and vaccination is used for control. Since protein subunits are needed to improve multivalent vaccines, monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) were made to facilitate protein identification and isolation. Eleven immunoglobulin M MAbs derived from mouse spleen donors immunized with disrupted whole organisms bound periodate-sensitive epitopes on externally exposed polysaccharide. Seven of these MAbs caused in vitro growth inhibition of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides; however, reaction with carbohydrate epitopes prevented their use in identifying proteins. Ten additional MAbs from mouse spleen donors immunized with Triton X-114-phase integral membrane proteins reacted with periodate-insensitive, proteinase K-sensitive epitopes. These MAbs were classified into three groups based on immunoblots of Triton X-114-phase proteins. One group reacted with 96-, 16-, and 15-kDa proteins. Another group reacted with 26-, 21-, and 16-kDa proteins, while a third group reacted only with 26- and 21-kDa proteins. One MAb from each group reacted with trypsinsensitive epitopes on live organisms, yet none caused in vitro growth inhibition. Representative MAbs reacted with all small-colony strains in immunoblots and did not react with large colony strains. However, these MAbs were not specific for small-colony strains, as proteins from two other M. mycoides cluster organisms were identified. Nevertheless, MAbs to surface-exposed epitopes on integral membrane proteins will be useful for isolation of these proteins for immunization, since one or more might induce growth-inhibiting antibodies or other protective responses.
PMCID: PMC170441  PMID: 8914769
24.  Susceptibility of goats and calves after experimental inoculation or contact exposure to a Canadian strain of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides isolated from a goat. 
Transmissibility of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides infection from experimentally inoculated goats to other goats and calves was studied. Eight goats and six calves were housed in an 18 m2 room. Six of the goats were inoculated endobronchially with strain D44 isolated from a natural case of polyarthritis in Ontario. These six goats died within a week of Mycoplasma septicemia. The two contact goats or the six calves never showed signs of disease and M. mycoides subsp. mycoides was not recovered from these animals. The contact goats and four calves were killed 25 days after exposure. They were all seronegative, M. mycoides subsp. mycoides was not recovered at necropsy and none had pathomorphological changes attributable to this Mycoplasma. The two remaining calves were inoculated endobronchially with 10(9) CFU of strain D44 and observed for 20 days. They never showed signs of disease and did not have significant lesions at necropsy. Both developed a significant serological response to M. mycoides subsp. mycoides, although this organism was not recovered during the experimental period or at necropsy. This study did not provide evidence for transmission of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides from endobronchially inoculated goats to contact goats or calves and endobronchially inoculated calves did not develop pneumonia. This would suggest that the infection of the goat population in Canada with this pathogen would not be a significant threat to the cattle population.
PMCID: PMC1235981  PMID: 6365296
25.  Diagnosis of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia by detection and identification of Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae by PCR and restriction enzyme analysis. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1996;34(4):785-791.
Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), one of the most serious and dramatic diseases of goats, is caused by Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae (M. capripneumoniae). This organism is very difficult to isolate and to correctly identify. In a previous report we described a method for the rapid detection and identification of M. capripneumoniae. This method is based on a PCR system by which a segment of the 16S rRNA gene from all mycoplasmas of the M. mycoides cluster can be amplified. The PCR product is then analyzed by restriction enzyme cleavage for the identification of M. capripneumoniae DNA. This system has now been further evaluated with respect to specificity and diagnostic efficacy for the identification and direct detection of the organism in clinical material. Identification by restriction enzyme analysis of amplified DNA from mycoplasmas of the M. mycoides cluster was verified for 55 strains, among which were 15 strains of M. capripneumoniae. The PCR was applied to clinical samples from the nose, ear, pharynx, pleural fluid, and lung tissue containing M. capripneumoniae or other mycoplasmas. As expected, mycoplasmas belonging to the M. mycoides cluster could be detected by the PCR. Restriction enzyme analysis of the PCR products could then be applied for the identification of M. capripneumoniae. Clinical samples and cultures containing M. capripneumoniae were dried on filter paper, to try an easier sample transport method, and were tested by PCR. M. capripneumoniae DNA could be detected in the dried specimens, but the sensitivity of the PCR test was reduced.
PMCID: PMC228893  PMID: 8815084

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