Mollicutes are unique microorganisms characterized by a great extent for the reduction in genetic material, which retained the capability of independent division on acellular nutrient media. Phenotypically mycoplasmas differed from other bacteria by their small size and lack of a cell wall (mollis, soft; cutis, skin). High dependence on metabolism components utilized in the cultivation medium and high metabolic plasticity due to the absence of many genome regulatory elements make mycoplasmas perfect parasites for cells of the eukaryotic origin. The ability of these microorganisms to pass through host cells and their assumed participation in AIDS activation facilitate the study of mycoplasma pathogenesis. Another important feature of mycoplasmas, which is expressed during their interaction with a macroorganism, is their ability to escape from the immune response of a host due to surface antigen variation. These adaptation capacities of mycoplasmas ensuring their life in various biological niches, given a limited genome and the direct metabolic dependence on an environment, cannot be adequately explained at present. In this review, we attempted to collect and systematize data that contribute to our understanding of the important feature of mycoplasmas, genetic instability, which may underlie many of their adaptive responses.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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