Impact of 16S rRNA Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms on Mycoplasma genitalium Organism Load with Doxycycline Treatment

Teck Phui Chua, Jennifer Danielewski, Kaveesha Bodiyabadu, Catriona S. Bradshaw, Dorothy A. Machalek, Suzanne M. Garland, Erica L. Plummer, Lenka A. Vodstrcil, Gerald L. Murray

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Doxycycline targets the 16S rRNA and is widely used for the treatment of sexually transmitted infections. While it is not highly effective at eradicating Mycoplasma genitalium infections, it can reduce organism load. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 16S rRNA gene of M. genitalium and change in organism load. M. genitalium samples were collected from 56 men prior to commencing doxycycline and at a median of 13 of 14 doses. These were sequenced for the 16S rRNA, and the association between 16S rRNA SNPs and change in organism load was determined. 16S rRNA sequences were available for 52/56 (92.9%) M. genitalium-infected men, of which 20 (38.5%) had an undetectable load, 26 (50.0%) had a decrease in M. genitalium load (median change of 105-fold), and 6 (11.5%) had an increase in load (median change of 5-fold). The most common SNPs identified were A742G (10/52 [19.2%]), GG960-961TT/C (7/52 [13.5%]), and C1435T (28/52 [53.8%]) (M. genitalium numbering). None were associated with a change in organism load (P = 0.76, 0.16, and 0.98, respectively). Using pooled published data from 28 isolates, no clear relationship between the SNPs and doxycycline MIC was identified. In conclusion, the low efficacy of doxycycline against M. genitalium does not appear to be due to variation in the 16S rRNA gene.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • 16S rRNA gene
  • antibiotic resistance
  • doxycycline
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • ARC Research Hub to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

    Guy, R. J., Broom, A., Whiley, D., Bradshaw, C., Applegate, T., Treloar, C. J., Wiseman, V., Huston, W. M., Williamson, D. A., Kaldor, J., Vallely, A., Hocking, J. S., Regan, D. G., Donovan, B., Kelly-Hanku, A. M., Mokany, E., Todd, A. V., Persing, D., Tenover, F., Graham, J., Phillips, J., Boulos, R., Field, P., Thistlethwaite, J., Chomley, P., Fairley, C., Lewis, D. A., McNulty, A., Lahra, M. M., Murray, G. L., Pomat, W. S. & Phanuphak, N.


    Project: Research

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