Molecular and biological features of mollicutes (mycoplasmas)

Ann Microbiol (Paris). 1984 Jan-Feb;135A(1):9-15. doi: 10.1016/s0769-2609(84)80053-8.


The small size of the mollicute genome considerably restricts the amount of genetic information available to the organisms. This is reflected in the relatively small number of cell proteins synthesized, the lack of many biosynthetic pathways and the marked dependence on exogenous nutrients for growth. The protein synthesizing machinery of mollicutes resembles that of eubacteria and is sensitive to the same antibiotics, except for rifampicin, to which RNA polymerases of mollicutes appear resistant. The mollicute ribosomes are built of 50 S and 30 S subunits and contain about 50 different proteins and 5 S, 16 S and 23 S rRNA, as in eubacteria. However, the 5 S rRNA in mollicutes appears shorter (107-112 nucleotides) than in eubacteria (116-120 nucleotides). We hybridized restriction endonuclease-digested DNA from a variety of Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Acholeplasma and Spiroplasma species with nick-translated probes consisting of defined portions of the rrnB rRNA operon of Escherichia coli and the rRNA operon of M. capricolum. The results suggest the presence of only one or two sets (operons) of rRNA genes in the genome of Mollicutes, a number falling considerably below that of the eubacteria examined so far but resembling that found in archaebacteria. Our data also indicate a marked nucleotide sequence homology along the rrnB rRNA operon of E. coli and the rRNA operons of the various mollicutes, indicating that the rRNA genes in mollicutes are linked in the classical prokaryotic fashion 16 S-23 S-5 S. Each mollicute appeared to possess, on its genome, different flanking sequences adjacent to the rRNA operon(s), resulting in species-specific hybridization patterns.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acholeplasma / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Mycoplasma / genetics
  • Mycoplasma / isolation & purification
  • Mycoplasmatales / genetics*
  • Operon
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Spiroplasma / genetics*
  • Ureaplasma / genetics


  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal