Mycoplasma Pneumoniae: Analysis of Metabolic Pathways in a Minimal Genome
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Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a bacterium lacking a cell wall, is one of the main causative agents of atypical pneumonia and contributes to the development of chronic respiratory disease. This organism has undergone reductive evolution and relies on the human host for the acquisition of most nutrients. Around 33% of M. pneumoniae proteins are of unknown function. The aim of my research was to grow this organism in various carbon sources and media to understand which metabolic pathways could be present in this minimal organism. Twenty-seven carbon sources and seven different media were tested. The results show that glucose, maltose, and dextrin caused significant growth of M. pneumoniae. The genes involved in glucose metabolism have been found, however, the genes involved in maltose and dextrin metabolism within this organism have not. The media growth experiment showed that Mueller Hinton II broth caused significantly reduced growth of this organism. Knowing which carbon sources can be utilized by M. pneumoniae will help us understand the metabolic pathways in this minimal organism. Novel metabolic pathways within M. pneumoniae can ultimately help us find potential targets for antibiotics or vaccines.