Direct Detection of Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma DNA from Clinical
Specimens

Mycoplasma growing in culture
Figure 1. Mycoplasma growing in culture

(MPNPCR, GUMPCR, MSMPCR)

Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma are bacteria that do not have a cell wall, which renders antibiotics that target cell wall synthesis (Beta-lactams such as penicillin) non-effective. Mycoplasma is the causative agent of several human diseases such as atypical pneumonia. Ureaplasma has been implicated in urethritis, premature birth, and neonatal atypical pneumonia. These organisms are difficult to culture and stain.

Mycoplasma PCR has replaced Mycoplasma culturing in our Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. PCR is able to detect fastidious Mycoplasma species, such as Mycoplasma genitalium, that do not grow in traditional Mycoplasma culture. Results are available in 2 to 3 days, compared to the 10 to 28 days required for culture. Three separate tests are available. MPNPCR detects Mycoplasma pneumoniae in respiratory specimens. GUMPCR detects Mycoplasma genitalium, Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, and Ureaplasma parvum in urogenital specimens. MSMPCR detects Mycoplasma pneumoniae, in addition to the organisms listed for GUMPCR for neonatal respiratory samples and all other specimens.

Our Mycoplasma real-time PCR assay via the LightCycler platform utilizes genus-specific primers and species-specific fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) probes for the identification of Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma from clinical specimens. This provides a powerful and highly sensitive tool for the rapid diagnosis of these organisms.