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February 1, 1965

Similarity Between Mycoplasma And Bacterial L-forms Noted

JAMA. 1965;191(5):38-42. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080050086049

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Are mycoplasma (pleuropneumonia-like organisms) isolated from natural sources a truly distinct species, or are they, in reality, a type of L-form produced in vivo from a bacterium subjected to an unfavorable environment?

An answer to that question could have major import in investigations into the nature of human leukemia, immunological disease, and suspected low-level reservoirs of infection, said members of a symposium on frontiers of microbiology. The symposium was a part of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Montreal.

Members of the symposium pointed out that both microorganisms lack a rigid cell wall. Mycoplasma can be isolated with frequency from many sources, including humans. Bacterial L-forms are produced in the laboratory by treatment of bacteria with deleterious agents, such as penicillin and immune sera. But is mycoplasma a type of L-form?

Available evidence is insufficient to draw a certain answer, said Paul F.

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