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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2001 Jan;8(1):85-92.

Genetic and biochemical characterization of glycerol uptake in mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC: its impact on H(2)O(2) production and virulence.

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Institute for Veterinary Bacteriology, University of Berne, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland.


Highly virulent strains of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC belonging to the African cluster contain an operon with the genes gtsA, gtsB, and gtsC, encoding membrane ATP binding cassette transporter proteins GtsA, GtsB, and GtsC, which are involved in glycerol transport. Strain Afadé from the African cluster incorporated [U-(14)C]glycerol with a time-dependent increase. The less virulent strain L2 of the European cluster, which lacks gtsB and gtsC, failed to incorporate glycerol. Antibodies against GtsB noncompetitively inhibited glycerol uptake. L-alpha-Glycerophosphate was not transported by M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC. It is postulated to be synthesized by phosphorylation of glycerol during transport and subsequently metabolized further to dihydroxyacetone phosphate accompanied by release of H(2)O(2). Peroxide production in glycerol-containing growth medium was high for the African strain Afadé but very low for the European strain L2. Virtually no H(2)O(2) was produced by both strains without glycerol. Hence, the efficient glycerol uptake system found in the virulent strain of the African cluster leads to a strong release of peroxide, a potential virulence factor which is lacking in the less virulent European strains. M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC might have adopted, as a strategy for virulence, a highly efficient uptake system for glycerol which allows the production of an active metabolic intermediate that damages host cells.

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