Open Access Research article

Genetic variability of the P120' surface protein gene of Mycoplasma hominis isolates recovered from Tunisian patients with uro-genital and infertility disorders

Boutheina Ben Abdelmoumen Mardassi*, Hajer Ayari, Awatef Béjaoui-Khiari, Béhija Mlik, Imed Moalla and Faten Amouna

Author Affiliations

Laboratoire des Mycoplasmes, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, 13, Place Pasteur-B.P.74, 1002 Tunis-Belvédère, Tunis, Tunisie

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2007, 7:142  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-142

Published: 5 December 2007



Among the surface antigens of Mycoplasma hominis, the P120' protein was previously shown to elicit a subtle antibody response and appears to be relatively conserved. To get better insight into the evolution of this protein, we analysed the genetic variability of its surface exposed region in 27 M. hominis isolates recovered from the genital tract of Tunisian patients with infertility disorders.


All specimens were processed for culture and PCR amplification of the N-terminal surface exposed region of p120' gene. PCR products were sequenced to evaluate the genetic variability, to test for adaptive selection, and to infer the phylogenetic relationship of the M. hominis isolates.


Sequence analysis showed a total of 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms distributed through 23 polymorphic sites, yielding 13 haplotypes. All but one mutation were confined within three distinct regions. Analysis of the amino acid-based phylogenetic tree showed a predominant group of 17 closely related isolates while the remaining appear to have significantly diverged.


By analysing a larger sample of M. hominis recovered from patients with urogenital infections, we show here that the P120' protein undergoes substantial level of genetic variability at its surface exposed region.