A phylogenetic analysis of the mycoplasmas: Basis for their classification

W. G. Weisburg, J. G. Tully, D. L. Rose, J. P. Petzel, H. Oyaizu, D. Yang, L. Mandelco, J. Sechrest, T. G. Lawrence, J. Van Etten, J. Maniloff, C. R. Woese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

541 Scopus citations


Small-subunit rRNA sequences were determined for almost 50 species of mycoplasmas and their walled relatives, providing the basis for a phylogenetic systematic analysis of these organisms. Five groups of mycoplasmas per se were recognized (provisional names are given): the hominis group (which included species such as Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma lipophilum, Mycoplasma pulmonis, and Mycoplasma neurolyticum), the pneumoniae group (which included species such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Mycoplasma muris), the spiroplasma group (which included species such as Mycoplasma mycoides, Spiroplasma citri, and Spiroplasma apis), the anaeroplasma group (which encompassed thye anaeroplasmas and acheloplasmas), and a group known to contain only the isolated species Asteroleplasma anaerobium. In addition to these five mycoplasma groups, a sixth group of variously named gram-positive, walled organisms (which included lactobacilli, clostridia, and other organisms) was also included in the overall phylogenetic unit. In each of these six primary groups, subgroups were readily recognized and defined. Although the phylogenetic units identified by rRNA comparisons are difficult to recognize on the basis of mutually exclusive phenotypic characters alone, phenotypic justification can be given a posteriori for a number of them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6455-6467
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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