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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Mycoplasma haemocanis – the canine hemoplasma and its feline counterpart in the genomic era

Naíla C do Nascimento1*, Andrea P Santos1, Ana MS Guimaraes1, Phillip J SanMiguel2 and Joanne B Messick1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Purdue University, 725 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA

2 Purdue Genomics Core Facility, Purdue University, 170 S. University Street, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA

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Veterinary Research 2012, 43:66  doi:10.1186/1297-9716-43-66

Published: 28 September 2012

Abstract

Mycoplasma haemocanis is a hemotrophic mycoplasma (hemoplasma), blood pathogen that may cause acute disease in immunosuppressed or splenectomized dogs. The genome of the strain Illinois, isolated from blood of a naturally infected dog, has been entirely sequenced and annotated to gain a better understanding of the biology of M. haemocanis. Its single circular chromosome has 919 992 bp and a low G + C content (35%), representing a typical mycoplasmal genome. A gene-by-gene comparison against its feline counterpart, M. haemofelis, reveals a very similar composition and architecture with most of the genes having conserved synteny extending over their entire chromosomes and differing only by a small set of unique protein coding sequences. As in M. haemofelis, M. haemocanis metabolic pathways are reduced and apparently rely heavily on the nutrients afforded by its host environment. The presence of a major percentage of its genome dedicated to paralogous genes (63.7%) suggests that this bacterium might use antigenic variation as a mechanism to evade the host’s immune system as also observed in M. haemofelis genome. Phylogenomic comparisons based on average nucleotide identity (ANI) and tetranucleotide signature suggest that these two pathogens are different species of mycoplasmas, with M. haemocanis infecting dogs and M. haemofelis infecting cats.