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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2007 Jul;30(5):355-70. Epub 2007 May 7.

Polar lipid and fatty acid profiles--re-vitalizing old approaches as a modern tool for the classification of mycoplasmas?

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Institute for Bacteriology, Mycology and Hygiene, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria.


A set of 20 Mollicutes strains representing different lines of descent, including the type species of the genus Mycoplasma, Mycoplasma mycoides, Acholeplasma laidlawii and a strain of Mesoplasma, were subjected to polar lipid and fatty acid analyses in order to evaluate their suitability for classification purposes within members of this group. Complex polar lipid and fatty acid profiles were detected for each examined strain. All strains contained the polar lipids phosphocholine-6'-alpha-glucopyranosyl-(1'-3)-1, 2-diacyl-glycerol (MfGL-I), 1-O-alkyl/alkenyl-2-O-acyl-glycero-3-phosphocholine (MfEL), sphingomyelin (SphM), 1-O-alkyl/alkenyl-glycero-3-phosphocholine (lysoMfEL), the unknown aminophospholipid APL1 and the cholesterol Chol2. A total of 19 strains revealed the presence of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and/or phosphatidylglycerol (PG), and the presence of diphosphatidylglycerol (DPG) was detected in 13 strains. The unknown aminolipid AL1 was found in the extracts of 17 strains. Unbranched saturated and unsaturated compounds predominated in the fatty acid profiles. Major fatty acids were usually C16:0, C18:0, C18:1 omega9c and 'Summed feature 5' (C18:2 omega6, 9c/C18:0 anteiso). Our results demonstrated that members of the M. mycoides cluster showed rather homogenous polar lipid and fatty acid profiles. In contrast, each of the other strains was characterized by a unique polar lipid profile and significant quantitative differences in the presence of certain fatty acids. These results indicate that analyses of both polar lipid and fatty acid profiles could be a useful tool for classification of mycoplasmas.

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