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Effect of the Symbiosis with Mycoplasma hominis and Candidatus Mycoplasma girerdii on Trichomonas vaginalis Metronidazole Susceptibility

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Valentina Margarita, Dr Nick Bailey, Professor Robert HirtORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Trichomoniasis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection worldwide, is caused by the protozoon Trichomonas vaginalis. The 5- nitroimidazole drugs, of which metronidazole is the most prescribed, are the only effective drugs to treat trichomoniasis. Resistance against metronidazole is increasingly reported among T. vaginalis isolates. T. vaginalis can establish an endosymbiosis with two Mycoplasma species, Mycoplasma hominis and Candidatus Mycoplasma girerdii, whose presence has been demonstrated to influence several aspects of the protozoan pathobiology. The role of M. hominis in T. vaginalis resistance to metronidazole is controversial, while the influence of Ca.M. girerdii has never been investigated. In this work, we investigate the possible correlation between the presence of Ca.M. girerdii and/or M. hominis and the in vitro drug susceptibility in a large group of T. vaginalis isolated in Italy and in Vietnam. We also evaluated, via RNA-seq analysis, the expression of protozoan genes involved in metronidazole resistance in a set of syngenic T. vaginalis strains, differing only for the presence/absence of the two Mycoplasmas. Our results show that the presence of M. hominis significantly increases the sensitivity to metronidazole in T. vaginalis and affects gene expression. On the contrary, the symbiosis with Candidatus Mycoplasma girerdii seems to have no effect on metronidazole resistance in T. vaginalis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Margarita V, Cao LC, Bailey NP, Ngoc THT, Ngo TMC, Nu PAT, Diaz N, Dessi D, Hirt RP, Fiori PL, Rappelli P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Antibiotics

Year: 2022

Volume: 11

Issue: 6

Online publication date: 16/06/2022

Acceptance date: 15/06/2022

Date deposited: 16/06/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2079-6382

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/antibiotics11060812


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