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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-16

Pathogenesis of Mycoplasma pneumoniae: An update


Department of Microbiology, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
R Chaudhry
Department of Microbiology, AIIMS, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.174112

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Genus Mycoplasma, belonging to the class Mollicutes, encompasses unique lifeforms comprising of a small genome of 8,00,000 base pairs and the inability to produce a cell wall under any circumstances. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is the most common pathogenic species infecting humans. It is an atypical respiratory bacteria causing community acquired pneumonia (CAP) in children and adults of all ages. Although atypical pneumonia caused by M. pneumoniae can be managed in outpatient settings, complications affecting multiple organ systems can lead to hospitalization in vulnerable population. M. pneumoniae infection has also been associated with chronic lung disease and bronchial asthma. With the advent of molecular methods of diagnosis and genetic, immunological and ultrastructural assays that study infectious disease pathogenesis at subcellular level, newer virulence factors of M. pneumoniae have been recognized by researchers. Structure of the attachment organelle of the organism, that mediates the crucial initial step of cytadherence to respiratory tract epithelium through complex interaction between different adhesins and accessory adhesion proteins, has been decoded. Several subsequent virulence mechanisms like intracellular localization, direct cytotoxicity and activation of the inflammatory cascade through toll-like receptors (TLRs) leading to inflammatory cytokine mediated tissue injury, have also been demonstrated to play an essential role in pathogenesis. The most significant update in the knowledge of pathogenesis has been the discovery of Community-Acquired Respiratory Distress Syndrome toxin (CARDS toxin) of M. pneumoniae and its ability of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) ribosylation and inflammosome activation, thus initiating airway inflammation. Advances have also been made in terms of the different pathways behind the genesis of extrapulmonary complications. This article aims to comprehensively review the recent advances in the knowledge of pathogenesis of this organism, that had remained elusive during the era of serological diagnosis. Elucidation of virulence mechanisms of M. pneumoniae will help researchers to design effective vaccine candidates and newer therapeutic targets against this agent.






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2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow

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