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Isr J Med Sci. 1987 Jun;23(6):699-703.

Characterization of some new insect-derived acholeplasmas.

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Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Frederick, MD 21701.


Further analysis of three sterol-nonrequiring Mollicutes (strains PS-1, TAC, and YJS) isolated from gut fluids of insects confirms their similarity to Acholeplasma. They are serologically distinct from acholeplasmas of vertebrates and several other sterol nonrequiring Mollicutes isolated from plant surfaces. The PS-1 strain had a DNA G + C content of 31 mol % and a genome size of 1,030 megadaltons (MDa). Optimum temperature is in the range of 23 to 30 C. Thirty-two new nonhelical Mollicutes isolated from a much wider range of insect hosts were examined for acholeplasmas. Twenty-five of the insect isolates were grown consistently in serum-free broth, with or without Tween 80 supplements. Two of the acholeplasmas were serologically related to Acholeplasma florum, 13 strains were serologically identical to the TAC isolate reported earlier, and 10 of the putative acholeplasmas could not be identified with current reference antisera. Seven of the new nonhelical insect isolates appeared to be sterol-requiring Mollicutes. One sterol-requiring isolate (ELCN-1) was recovered from the hemolymph of a firefly, and is the first report of nonhelical Mollicutes in the insect hemocoel. Two of the seven sterol-requiring Mollicutes, which were nonhelical in earlier passages in broth, later reverted to typically helical spiroplasmas. Confirmation of sterol-requiring, nonhelical Mollicutes in insects would provide an important ecological finding that insects constitute an important reservoir for both acholeplasmas and mycoplasmas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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