Author(s): Pilo P, Vilei EM, Peterhans E, BonvinKlotz L, Stoffel MH,
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Abstract During evolution, pathogenic bacteria have developed complex interactions with their hosts. This has frequently involved the acquisition of virulence factors on pathogenicity islands, plasmids, transposons, or prophages, allowing them to colonize, survive, and replicate within the host. In contrast, Mycoplasma species, the smallest self-replicating organisms, have regressively evolved from gram-positive bacteria by reduction of the genome to a minimal size, with the consequence that they have economized their genetic resources. Hence, pathogenic Mycoplasma species lack typical primary virulence factors such as toxins, cytolysins, and invasins. Consequently, little is known how pathogenic Mycoplasma species cause host cell damage, inflammation, and disease. Here we identify a novel primary virulence determinant in Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides Small Colony (SC), which causes host cell injury. This virulence factor, released in significant amounts in the presence of glycerol in the growth medium, consists of toxic by-products such as H2O2 formed by l-alpha-glycerophosphate oxidase (GlpO), a membrane-located enzyme that is involved in the metabolism of glycerol. When embryonic calf nasal epithelial cells are infected with M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC in the presence of physiological amounts of glycerol, H2O2 is released inside the cells prior to cell death. This process can be inhibited with monospecific anti-GlpO antibodies.
This article was published in J Bacteriol
and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics