Theses and Dissertations


Xiufeng Wan

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Pharr, G. Todd

Committee Member

Hanson, Larry A.

Committee Member

Boyle, John A.

Committee Member

Lawrence, Mark L.

Committee Member

Branton, Scott L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Veterinary Medical Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Veterinary Medicine


Veterinary Medical Science Program


Unlike most other host-specific mycoplasmas, Mycoplasma gallinarum exists as a commensal with a host range including most poultry as well as some mammals. This property of M. gallinarum may reflect unique mechanisms for its colonization and persistence in hosts. Whereas M. gallinarum shows leucine and arginine aminopeptidase activity, the genes encoding the enzymes had not been cloned and characterized. We identified an aminopeptidase gene (APN) by oligonucleotide hybridization to a genomic library of M. gallinarum in lambda ZAPII bacteriophage. Nucleotide sequence analysis of overlapping phage clones identified a 1,362 bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a putative leucine aminopeptidase gene. Database searches indicate that this ORF has 68% nucleotide identity and 51% amino acid identity with the M. salivarium leucine aminopeptidase gene. The active sites of the leucine aminopeptidases in other eukaryotes and prokaryotes were conserved in the cloned aminopeptidase gene. Northern-blot hybridization analysis showed that this ORF is expressed as a 1.5 kb transcript. Southern-blot hybridization analysis demonstrated this gene was present as a single copy in M. gallinarum. Characterization of the leucine aminopeptidase demonstrated that it is a metallo-aminopeptidase (EC and is located in the cytoplasm with a weak interaction with the cell membrane. The subcellular location was further confirmed by immunoblotting with polyclonal anti-recombinant APN serum and M. gallinarum Triton-114 partitions. Immunoblotting results with sera from three chickens experimentally infected with M. gallinarum showed that there were very few proteins in M. gallinarum exposed to the host immune responses and that leucine aminopeptidase was not able to stimulate production of specific humoral antibody. Our results suggest that this leucine aminopeptidase play a role in nutrition supply for the host adaptation of M. gallinarum and that the enzyme was not strongly immunogenic.