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PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e38239. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038239. Epub 2012 May 31.

Comparative geno-plasticity analysis of Mycoplasma bovis HB0801 (Chinese isolate).

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National Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China.


Mycoplasma bovis pneumonia in cattle has been epidemic in China since 2008. To investigate M. bovis pathogenesis, we completed genome sequencing of strain HB0801 isolated from a lesioned bovine lung from Hubei, China. The genomic plasticity was determined by comparing HB0801 with M. bovis strain ATCC® 25523™/PG45 from cow mastitis milk, Chinese strain Hubei-1 from lesioned lung tissue, and 16 other Mycoplasmas species. Compared to PG45, the genome size of HB0801 was reduced by 11.7 kb. Furthermore, a large chromosome inversion (580 kb) was confirmed in all Chinese isolates including HB0801, HB1007, a strain from cow mastitis milk, and Hubei-1. In addition, the variable surface lipoproteins (vsp) gene cluster existed in HB0801, but contained less than half of the genes, and had poor identity to that in PG45, but they had conserved structures. Further inter-strain comparisons revealed other mechanisms of gene acquisition and loss in HB0801 that primarily involved insertion sequence (IS) elements, integrative conjugative element, restriction and modification systems, and some lipoproteins and transmembrane proteins. Subsequently, PG45 and HB0801 virulence in cattle was compared. Results indicated that both strains were pathogenic to cattle. The scores of gross pathological assessment for the control group, and the PG45- and HB0801-infected groups were 3, 13 and 9, respectively. Meanwhile the scores of lung lesion for these three groups were 36, 70, and 69, respectively. In addition, immunohistochemistry detection demonstrated that both strains were similarly distributed in lungs and lymph nodes. Although PG45 showed slightly higher virulence in calves than HB0801, there was no statistical difference between the strains (P>0.05). Compared to Hubei-1, a total of 122 SNP loci were disclosed in HB0801. In conclusion, although genomic plasticity was thought to be an evolutionary advantage, it did not apparently affect virulence of M. bovis strains in cattle.

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