Mycoplasma gallisepticun, M. imitans and M. iowae are three morphologically similar avian Mycoplasma species, and M. gallisepticum and M. imitans have been shown to be antigenically related. Using a monoclonal antibody that binds to the previously described size- and phase-variant integral membrane surface protein PvpA of M. gallisepticum, we have identified in all three avian Mycoplasma species a 41-kDa surface antigen, which in M. gallisepticum and M. imitans was identified as peripheral membrane protein undergoing variation in expression among clonal isolates. Southern blot analysis using the pvpA gene as a probe demonstrated sequence homology with M. imitans and M. iowae genomic DNA and suggested that a pvpA-related gene that may encode the 41-kDa product exists in these two Mycoplasma species. These studies establish (i) that M. iowae is antigenically related to M. gallisepticum and M. imitans, (ii) that the three species share non-ribosomal gene sequences, and (iii) that peripheral membrane proteins contribute to Mycoplasma surface variation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank J.M. Bradbury, K.-H. Hinz, S.H. Kleven and J.G. Tully for providing mycoplasma strains and/or antibodies. This work was supported in part by a grant (Ro 739/2-l) and a fellowship (Ro 739/5-l) from the Deutsche Forschungsgemein-schaft (R.R.), a grant (IS-1852-90) from the United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (S.L.) and a grant from the Hebrew University Authority for Research and Development - Peter Hylston Foundation (D.Y.).
- Epitope sharing
- Genetic relatedness
- Mycoplasma gallisepticum
- Mycoplasma imitans
- Mycoplasma iowae
- Variable surface protein