Microbiology

Mycoplasma doubles the cost of an STD

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Science  21 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6212, pp. 961
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6212.961-a

Scanning electron micrograph of Trichomonas vaginalis

CREDIT: DAVID PHILLIPS/VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC.

It's cruel enough to acquire one sexually transmitted infection, but gaining two for one is harsh. Trichomoniasis is a very common protozoal infection of the vagina that causes symptoms ranging from urogenital inflammation to pregnancy complications. Fettweis et al. analyzed the microbiomes from vaginal samples collected from more than 1300 women and now report that a previously unknown mycoplasma (a type of bacteria) tightly associates with trichomonas organisms. The genome of the new mycoplasma (called candidatus Mycoplasma girerdi) encodes proteins similar to known virulence factors, which suggests that the mycoplasma might be contributing to trichomoniasis disease.

PLOS One 9, e110943 (2014).

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