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Vet J. 2007 Nov;174(3):513-21. Epub 2006 Dec 6.

Molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC.

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Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, University of Bern, Langgass-strasse 122, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.


Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC, the aetiological agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), is considered the most pathogenic of the Mycoplasma species. Its virulence is probably the result of a coordinated action of various components of an antigenically and functionally dynamic surface architecture. The different virulence attributes allow the pathogen to evade the host's immune defence, adhere tightly to the host cell surface, persist and disseminate in the host causing mycoplasmaemia, efficiently import energetically valuable nutrients present in the environment, and release and simultaneously translocate toxic metabolic pathway products to the host cell where they cause cytotoxic effects that are known to induce inflammatory processes and disease. This strategy enables the mycoplasma to exploit the minimal genetic information in its small genome, not only to fulfil the basic functions for its replication but also to damage host cells in intimate proximity thereby acquiring the necessary bio-molecules, such as amino acids and nucleic acid precursors, for its own biosynthesis and survival.

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