Ureaplasma urealyticum is a commensal organism of the lower genital tract of females, but in a subpopulation of individuals, it can invade the upper genital tract. It is a significant cause of chorioamnionitis and neonatal morbidity and mortality. There are 14 recognized serovars of U. urealyticum; these can be divided into two distinct clusters or biovars. Biovar 1 is composed of serovars 1, 3, 6, and 14. Biovar 2 is composed of serovars 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13. We previously identified a surface antigen, the multiple-banded (MB) antigen, which contains both serovar-specific and cross-reactive epitopes. Genotypic characterization of the C-terminal region of the MB antigen of serovar 3 indicates that serovar specificity and MB antigen size variation reside in that domain. In the present study, we used PCR analysis with primers derived from the serovar 3 MB antigen gene DNA sequence to determine if the MB antigen gene was present in the remaining 13 reference serovars as well as in invasive clinical isolates. The results indicated that not only was the MB antigen gene present in all serovars but that the genes' 5' regions were markers of biovar specificity and diversity. Further analysis of this region should reveal the phylogenetic relationship among serovars of U. urealyticum and, possibly, their invasive potential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)