Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Diversity of Mycoplasma hominis clinical isolates from Bordeaux, France, as assessed by multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis

Cyril Férandon12, Olivia Peuchant123, Hélène Renaudin3 and Cécile Bébéar123*

Author Affiliations

1 Univ. Bordeaux, USC Mycoplasmal and Chlamydial Infections in Humans, 33076, Bordeaux, France

2 INRA, USC Mycoplasmal and Chlamydial Infections in Humans, 33076, Bordeaux, France

3 CHU de Bordeaux, Laboratoire de Bactériologie, 33076, Bordeaux, France

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BMC Microbiology 2013, 13:120  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-120

Published: 28 May 2013



Mycoplasma hominis is an opportunistic human mycoplasma species that can cause various urogenital infections and, less frequently, extragenital infections. The objective of this work was to study the genetic diversity of this species using a molecular typing method based on multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA).


The genome content of M. hominis PG21 was analysed for tandem repeats (TRs), and five of the 130 TRs identified were selected for use in an MLVA assay. The method was based on GeneScan analysis of VNTR loci using multiplex PCR with fluorescent dyes and resolution by capillary electrophoresis. This approach was used on a collection of 210 urogenital and extragenital French clinical isolates collected between 1987 and 2009. Forty MLVA types were found. The discriminatory index of our MLVA scheme was 0.924. Using this new typing tool, persistent infection was suggested for six patients and new infection for one patient. Furthermore, mother-to-child transmission was confirmed in the two cases studied. Application of MLVA to a wide range of M. hominis isolates revealed high genotypic diversity and no obvious link between the MLVA type and the isolate year of collection, the patient’s age or sex, the anatomical origin of the isolates or resistance to antibiotics was found.


Our MLVA scheme highlights the high genetic heterogeneity of the M. hominis species. It seems too discriminatory to be used for large epidemiological studies but has proven its usefulness for molecular studies at the individual level.

Mycoplasma hominis; MLVA; Genotyping