Mollicutes vs Mycoplasma: Difference and Comparison

Mollicutes and Mycoplasma are both types of bacteria that lack a cell wall.

Mollicutes are parasites that live on or in the cells of other animals and plants. They are the smallest self-replicating and free-living life forms.

Mollicutes reproduce by budding instead of binary fission. These are parasites that colonize their hosts and resist their immune systems.

Many can move by gliding, while some are helical, so they can only move by twisting. They cause problems in Humans by sticking to respiratory or urogenital tract cells.

Mycoplasma is one of the genera within the class Mollicutes. They lack cell walls and vary in size from spherical to filamentous.

The mycoplasma cell has the bare minimum of organelles required for development and replication: a plasma membrane, ribosomes, and a genome made up of a double-stranded circular DNA molecule.

Mycoplasma is called the “crabgrass” of cell culture due to their diagnosis being difficult to diagnose and treat.

Key Takeaways

  1. Mollicutes is a class of bacteria that lacks a cell wall, while Mycoplasma is a genus within this class.
  2. Mollicutes are pleomorphic, exhibiting a range of shapes, whereas Mycoplasma primarily exhibits a round or filamentous shape.
  3. Mollicutes and Mycoplasma can cause diseases in humans, animals, and plants, but Mycoplasma is more commonly associated with human infections.
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Mollicutes vs Mycoplasma

Mollicutes are a group of bacteria that live inside or outside human cells and can replicate themselves. They are not affected by the immune system after cloning. Mycoplasma is a small parasite lacking a cell wall and belongs to the Mollicute class. Few can cause diseases in humans.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonMollicutesMycoplasma
DefinitionMollicutes are the least complex and smallest self-replicating and free-living single – cell organisms known to science.Mycoplasma is a genus under the Mollicutes class. they are so little in comparison to other bacteria and lack cell walls
TaxonomyA combination of the Latin words “mollis,” which means “soft” and “cutis,” which means “skin.”Derived from the Greek words “mykes,” which means “fungus,” and “plasma,” which means “made
EtymologyClass of bacteriaGenera within the class pf bacteria

What is Mollicutes?

The word Mollicute is derived from the Latin word “Mollis”, which means soft and “Cutis”, which means skin. Mollicutes are the smallest self-reproducing and free-living forms of life.

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They lack a bacterial cell wall. Mollicutes are parasites that live inside the cells of various animals and plants.

They colonize the host and resist their immune system. They can cause many different diseases in humans by attaching to urogenital and respiratory tracts.

Individuals are relatively tiny, with very minimal genome size. They vary in shape, but most include sterols, which harden the cell membrane.

Many organisms can move by gliding, however, Spiroplasma members are helical and move by twisting.

Mollicutes have developed through reproductive evolution from gram-positive bacteria. Lacking cell walls, they reproduce by a budding mechanism rather than binary fission.

The three genera of Mollicutes that can cause problems in humans are Erysipelothrix, Ureaplasma, and Mycoplasma.

What is Mycoplasma?

Mycoplasma is derived from the Greek words “mykes” (fungus) and “plasma” (formed). Mycoplasma is a genus under the Mollicutes class.

They are extremely small compared to other bacteria and lack cell walls, therefore some antibiotics do not affect them.

Because they lack cell walls, these microorganisms may change form and are pleomorphic.

Mycoplasma lacks a nucleus and other organelles. They have a replicating disc at one end that helps in replication and the separation of genetic components.

The parasitic nature is due to mycoplasmal bacteria’s inability to synthesise the essential growth component.

Although not all mycoplasmas cause disease, a few can be dangerous.

Those which can cause disease include Mycoplasma pneumonia, Mycoplasma genitalium, Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, and Ureaplasma parvum.

mycoplasma

Main Differences Between Mollicutes and Mycoplasma

  1. Mycoplasma is a genus under the Mollicutes class. Since they are so little in comparison to other bacteria and lack cell walls, some antibiotics do not work against them. There are about 200 different types of mycoplasma bacteria. Mollicutes are the least complex and smallest self-replicating and free-living single-cell organisms known to science. This class of basic bacteria is characterized by the absence of a bacterial cell wall and their small genomes, which contain the whole set of genetic instructions in cells. Mollicutes are polar and have reasonably well-defined forms; a cholesterol-containing unit membrane mainly delineates them.
  2. The term “mollicutes” is a combination of the Latin words “Mollis,” which means “soft” or “pliable,” and “cutis,” which means “skin.” Mycoplasma, on the other hand, is derived from the Greek words “mykes,” which means “fungus,” and “plasma,” which means “made.” 
  3. Mollicutes is a class of bacteria; mycoplasma is one of the genera within the class Mollicutes.
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Last Updated : 28 July, 2023

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