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Infect Immun. 1999 Sep;67(9):4557-62.

Identification of a new variable sequence in the P1 cytadhesin gene of Mycoplasma pneumoniae: evidence for the generation of antigenic variation by DNA recombination between repetitive sequences.

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Department of Safety Research on Biologics, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Musashimurayama, Tokyo 208-0011, Japan.


A Mycoplasma pneumoniae cytadhesin P1 gene with novel nucleotide sequence variation has been identified. Four clinical strains of M. pneumoniae were found to carry this type of P1 gene. This new P1 gene is similar to the known group II P1 genes but possesses novel sequence variation of approximately 300 bp in the RepMP2/3 region. The position of the new variable region is distant from the previously reported variable regions known to differ between group I and II P1 genes. Two sequences closely homologous to this new variable region were found within the repetitive sequences outside the P1 gene of the M. pneumoniae M129 genome. This suggests that the new P1 gene was generated by DNA recombination between repetitive sequences and the P1 gene locus. The finding of this new type of P1 gene supports the hypothesis that the repetitive sequences of the M. pneumoniae genome serve as a reservoir to generate antigenic variation of the cytadhesin P1 gene.

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