Construction of the mycoplasma evolutionary tree from 5S rRNA sequence data

M. J. Rogers, J. Simmons, R. T. Walker, W. G. Weisburg, C. R. Woese, R. S. Tanner, I. M. Robinson, D. A. Stahl, G. Olsen, R. H. Leach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 5S rRNA sequences of eubacteria and mycoplasmas have been analyzed and a phylogenetic tree constructed. We determined the sequences of 5S rRNA from Clostridium innocuum, Acholeplasma laidlawii, Acholeplasma modicum, Anaeroplasma bactoclasticum. Anaeroplasma abactoclasticum, Ureaplasma urealyticum, Mycoplasma mycoides mycoides, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Mycoplasma gallisepticum, Analysis of these and published sequences shows that mycoplasmas form a coherent phylogenetic group that, with C. innocuum, arose as a branch of the low G + C Gram-positive tree, near the lactobacilli and streptococci. The initial event in mycoplasma phylogeny was formation of the Acholeplasma branch; hence, loss of cell wall probably occurred at the time of genome reduction to ~1000 MDa. A subsequent branch produced the Spiroplasma. This branch appears to have been the origin of sterol-requiring mycoplasmas. During development of the Spiroplasma branch there were several independent genome reductions, each to ~500 MDa, resulting in Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma species. Mycoplasmas, particularly species with the smallest genomes, have high mutation rates, suggesting that they are in a state of rapid evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1160-1164
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Construction of the mycoplasma evolutionary tree from 5S rRNA sequence data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this