Molecular characterization of Mycoplasma pneumoniae isolates in the United States from 2012 to 2018

L. Xiao*, A. E. Ratliff, D. M. Crabb, E. Mixon, X. Qin, R. Selvarangan, Y. W. Tang, X. Zheng, J. Dien Bard, T. Hong, M. Prichard, E. Brooks, S. Dallas, L. B. Duffy, K. B. Fowler, T. P. Atkinson, K. B. Waites

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a major cause of community-acquired pneumonia. There are limited data in the United States on the molecular epidemiological characteristics of M. pneumoniae. We collected 446 M. pneumoniae-positive specimens from 9 states between August 2012 and October 2018. Culture, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, P1 subtyping, and multilocus VNTR (variable-number tandem repeats) analysis (MLVA) were performed to characterize the isolates. Macrolide-resistant M. pneumoniae (MRMp) was detected in 37 (8.3%) specimens. P1 subtype 2 (P1-2) was the predominant P1 subtype (59.8%). P1 subtype distribution did not change significantly chronologically or geographically. The macrolide resistance rate in P1 subtype 1 (P1-1) samples was significantly higher than that in P1-2 (12.9% versus 5.5%). Six P1-2 variants were identified, including two novel types, and variant 2c was predominant (64.6%). P1-2 variants were distributed significantly differently among geographic regions. Classical P1-2 was more frequent in lower respiratory tract specimens and had longer p1 trinucleotide repeats. Classical P1-2 was most common in MRMp (35.7%), while variant 2c was most common in macrolide-susceptible M. pneumoniae (67.5%). Fifteen MLVA types were identified; 3-5-6-2 (41.7%), 4-5-7-2 (35.3%), and 3-6-6-2 (16.6%) were the major types, and four MLVA clusters were delineated. The distribution of MLVA types varied significantly over time and geographic location. The predominant MLVA type switched from 4-5-7-2 to 3-5-6-2 in 2015. MLVA type was associated with P1 subtypes and P1-2 variant types but not with macrolide resistance. To investigate the M. pneumoniae genotype shift and its impact on clinical presentations, additional surveillance programs targeting more diverse populations and prolonged sampling times are required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0071020
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Genotype
  • MLVA
  • Macrolide resistance
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • P1
  • Variant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular characterization of Mycoplasma pneumoniae isolates in the United States from 2012 to 2018'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this