Isolation of Mycoplasma capricolum-like strains from chickens
Members of the genus Mycoplasma infect a wide range of hosts, but individual Mycoplasma species tend to exhibit a considerable degree of host specificity. We characterized Mycoplasma strain 700, isolated from a kidney of a layer hen in Spain and Mycoplasma strains ULB-A and ULB-B, isolated from the air sac and from the bile of stunted broiler chickens in Slovenia. The serologic examination showed that these three strains are antigenically unrelated to all of the recognized Mycoplasma species of avian origin, but closely related to the ruminant mycoplasma Mycoplasma capricolum subspecies capricolum (M. capricolum). The comparison of their 16S rRNA gene sequences with the sequence of M. capricolum (California kid) revealed 99.66% sequence identity for the strain 700 and 99.59% identity for strains ULB-A and ULB-B. Moreover, the predicted DnaK sequences of the M. capricolum-like strains, isolated from chickens, were identical to DnaK sequences of M. capricolum. Comparison of their dnaK gene sequences with M. capricolum showed 99.64% sequence identity for strain 700 and 99.27% identity for strains ULB-A and ULB-B. In the flock from which M. capricolum-like strains ULB-A and ULB-B were isolated, the majority of chickens (83% of the chickens examined) raised antibodies reacting with M. capricolum antigens. Notably, the infection of chickens with M. capricolum-like strains represents an unusual exception to the range of Mycoplasma species host specificity.
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