Structural Variations and Phenotypic Switching of Mycoplasmal Antigens

H. L. Watson*, X. Zheng, G. H. Cassell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


It is becoming apparent that a high rate of variability of surface structures is a ubiquitous property among mycoplasmas. The present study demonstrates how variations in the size of the V-1 antigen (a major surface antigen of Mycoplasma pulmonis thought to be associated with virulence) are reflected by phenotypic differences (cytadherence) that may play a role in virulence of the organism. Furthermore, a similar antigen is described for the human pathogen Ureaplasma urealyticum, and data are presented on the analysis of clinical isolates that demonstrate the potential for variation in the size of this antigen in vivo. Although no direct connection of antigen variation to natural disease has yet been presented, the data further document the tremendous potential for virulence-related diversity possessed by these organisms and emphasize the importance of a valid animal model for discerning the true relationship between variation and virulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S183-S186
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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