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Res Microbiol. 2007 May;158(4):371-8. Epub 2007 Jan 27.

Comparative genome analysis of Ureaplasma parvum clinical isolates.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Research Institute of Physicochemical Medicine, Federal Agency for Health and Social Development, Malaya Pirogovskaya 1A, Moscow 119992, Russian Federation.


Ureaplasma parvum colonizes human mucosal surfaces, primarily in the respiratory and urogenital tracts, causing a wide spectrum of diseases, from non-gonococcal urethritis to pneumonitis in immunocompromised hosts. Although the basis for these diverse clinical outcomes is not yet understood, more severe disease may be associated with strains harboring a certain set of strain-specific genes. To investigate this, whole genome DNA macroarrays were constructed and used to assess genomic diversity in 10 U. parvum clinical strains. We found that 7.6% of U. parvum genes were dispersed into one or more strains, thus defining a minimal functional core of 538 U. parvum genes. Most of the strain-specific genes (79%) were of unknown function and were unique to U. parvum. Four hypervariable plasticity regions were identified in the genome containing 93% of the variability in the gene pool (UU32-UU33, UU145-UU170, UU440-UU447 and UU527-UU529). We hypothesized that one of them (UU145-UU170) was a pathogenicity island in U. parvum and we characterized it. Thus, we propose that the clinical outcome of U. parvum infection is probably associated with this newly identified pathogenicity island.

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