The Evolution of Advanced Molecular Diagnostics for the Detection and Characterization of Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Over the past decade there have been significant advancements in the methods used for detecting and characterizing Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a common cause of respiratory illness and community-acquired pneumonia worldwide. The repertoire of available molecular diagnostics has greatly expanded from nucleic acid amplification techniques (NAATs) that encompass a variety of chemistries used for detection, to more sophisticated characterizing methods such as multi-locus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA), Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), single nucleotide polymorphism typing, and numerous macrolide susceptibility profiling methods, among others. These many molecular-based approaches have been developed and employed to continually increase the level of discrimination and characterization in order to better understand the epidemiology and biology of M. pneumoniae. This review will summarize recent molecular techniques and procedures and lend perspective to how each has enhanced the current understanding of this organism and will emphasize how Next Generation Sequencing may serve as a resource for researchers to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the genomic complexities of this insidious pathogen.

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