Galactocerebroside biosynthesis pathways of Mycoplasma species: an antigen triggering Guillain–Barré–Stohl syndrome

E. Gaspari*, J.J. Koehorst, Joachim Frey, V.A.P. Martins dos Santos, M. Suarez Diez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Infection by Mycoplasma pneumoniae has been identified as a preceding factor of Guillain–Barré–Stohl syndrome. The Guillain–Barré–Stohl syndrome is triggered by an immune reaction against the major glycolipids and it has been postulated that M. pneumoniae infection triggers this syndrome due to bacterial production of galactocerebroside. Here, we present an extensive comparison of 224 genome sequences from 104 Mycoplasma species to characterize the genetic determinants of galactocerebroside biosynthesis. Hidden Markov models were used to analyse glycosil transferases, leading to identification of a functional protein domain, termed M2000535 that appears in about a third of the studied genomes. This domain appears to be associated with a potential UDP‐glucose epimerase, which converts UDP‐glucose into UDP‐galactose, a main substrate for the biosynthesis of galactocerebroside. These findings clarify the pathogenic mechanisms underlining the triggering of Guillain–Barré–Stohl syndrome by M. pneumoniae infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1201-1211
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Issue number3
Early online date27 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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