Mycoplasmas and their host: emerging and re-emerging minimal pathogens

Trends Microbiol. 2013 Apr;21(4):196-203. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Feb 16.


Commonly known as mycoplasmas, bacteria of the class Mollicutes include the smallest and simplest life forms capable of self replication outside of a host. Yet, this minimalism hides major human and animal pathogens whose prevalence and occurrence have long been underestimated. Owing to advances in sequencing methods, large data sets have become available for a number of mycoplasma species and strains, providing new diagnostic approaches, typing strategies, and means for comprehensive studies. A broader picture is thus emerging in which mycoplasmas are successful pathogens having evolved a number of mechanisms and strategies for surviving hostile environments and adapting to new niches or hosts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological
  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / microbiology*
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Mycoplasma / genetics
  • Mycoplasma / pathogenicity*
  • Mycoplasma Infections / microbiology*
  • Mycoplasma Infections / veterinary*
  • Virulence Factors / genetics


  • Virulence Factors