General N- and O-linked glycosylation of lipoproteins in mycoplasmas and role of exogenous oligosaccharide

Academic Article


  • The lack of a cell wall, flagella, fimbria, and other extracellular appendages and the possession of only a single membrane render the mycoplasmas structurally simplistic and ideal model organisms for the study of glycoconjugates. Most species have genomes of about 800 kb and code for few proteins predicted to have a role in glycobiology. The murine pathogens Mycoplasma arthritidis and Mycoplasma pulmonis have only a single gene annotated as coding for a glycosyltransferase but synthesize glycolipid, polysaccharide and glycoproteins. Previously, it was shown that M. arthritidis glycosylated surface lipoproteins through O-linkage. In the current study, O-linked glycoproteins were similarly found in M. pulmonis and both species of mycoplasma were found to also possess N-linked glycans at residues of asparagine and glutamine. Protein glycosylation occurred at numerous sites on surfaceexposed lipoproteins with no apparent amino acid sequence specificity. The lipoproteins of Mycoplasma pneumoniae also are glycosylated. Glycosylation was dependent on the glycosidic linkages from host oligosaccharides. As far as we are aware, N-linked glycoproteins have not been previously described in Gram-positive bacteria, the organisms to which the mycoplasmas are phylogenetically related. The findings indicate that the mycoplasma cell surface is heavily glycosylated with implications for the modulation of mycoplasma-host interactions.
  • Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Daubenspeck JM; Jordan DS; Simmons W; Renfrow MB; Dybvig K
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 11