The key difference between mycoplasma and chlamydia is that mycoplasma is a genus of bacteria that lacks a cell wall while chlamydia is a genus of bacteria that includes gram-negative and obligate parasites.
Mycoplasma species are the smallest bacteria that have been discovered yet, with the smallest genomes and a minimum number of highly essential organelles. Mycoplasma is wall-less bacteria. Hence, they do not have a definite shape. Generally, they are spherical to filamentous shaped cells. In contrast, chlamydia is a genus of bacteria that has cell walls. They are gram-negative bacteria. Both mycoplasma and chlamydia cause sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, they produce similar symptoms, but they can be treated with different antibiotics.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Mycoplasma
3. What is Chlamydia
4. Similarities Between Mycoplasma and Chlamydia
5. Side by Side Comparison – Mycoplasma vs Chlamydia in Tabular Form
What is Mycoplasma?
Mycoplasma is a genus of bacteria. In fact, mycoplasma is the smallest bacteria (150 – 250 nm) that have been discovered yet, with the smallest genomes and a minimum number of highly essential organelles. Further, this genus consists of bacterial species which lack cell walls around their cell membranes. Cell wall determines the shape of the bacterium. Since mycoplasma species do not contain a cell wall, they do not possess a definite shape. They are highly pleomorphic. Mycoplasma is gram-negative, aerobic or facultative aerobic bacteria. Furthermore, they can be parasitic or saprotrophic.
There are about 200 different species belonging to this genus. Among them, few species cause diseases to human. Four species known as Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma genitalium, and Ureaplasma cause significant clinical infections to human.
Mycoplasma species cannot be easily destroyed or controlled by common antibiotics such as penicillin or beta-lactum antibiotics which target the cell wall synthesis. Hence, their infections are persistent and hard to diagnose and cure. Furthermore, mycoplasma species contaminate cell cultures, causing serious problems in research laboratories and industrial settings.
What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a group of gram-negative bacteria which are obligate intracellular parasites of higher animals (mammals and birds). They are unable to produce ATP. Hence, they totally depend on host ATP. They have both DNA and RNA, unlike viruses. Moreover, they are able to produce proteins. However, since they are bacteria, they are susceptible to antibiotics.
Chlamydia trachomatis, C. pneumonia and Chlamydophila psittaci are three chlamydia species which cause serious illnesses. Three common infections of Chlamydia are conjunctivitis, cervicitis, and pneumonia. Chlamydia transmission occurs human to human.
What are the Similarities Between Mycoplasma and Chlamydia?
- Mycoplasma and clamydia are two types of bacterial groups.
- They are gram-negative bacteria.
- Also, they contain small genomes.
- Further, both can cause pneumonia.
- They cause sexually transmitted diseases as well.
- In fact, they cause silent infections. Thus, their infections do not produce symptoms.
- Besides, both bacteria can also lie dormant for long periods of time.
- Chlamydia and mycoplasma infections are treated with different antibiotics.
What is the Difference Between Mycoplasma and Chlamydia?
Mycoplasma is a genus of wall-less bacteria. Meanwhile, chlamydia is a group of obligate intracellular parasitic bacteria. So, this is the key difference between mycoplasma and chlamydia. Moreover, mycoplasma species do not have a definite shape, while chlamydia species have a definite shape. Furthermore, another difference between mycoplasma and chlamydia is that the mycoplasma species are not susceptible to antibiotics which target cell wall while chlamydia species are susceptible to cell wall targeting antibiotics.
Summary – Mycoplasma vs Chlamydia
Mycoplasma and chlamydia are two types of bacterial groups. They cause diseases to humans. Mycoplasma bacterial species do not contain a cell wall. Hence they don’t have a definite shape. In contrast, chlamydia species have a cell wall. Thus, they have a definite shape. Furthermore, mycoplasma can be parasitic or saprotrophic. In contrast, chlamydia species are obligate parasites. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between mycoplasma and chlamydia.
1.“Chlamydia Infections | Chlamydia | Chlamydia Symptoms.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8 Oct. 2019, Available here.
2. Razin, Shmuel. “Mycoplasmas.” Medical Microbiology. 4th Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1996, Available here.
1. “Mycoplasma pneumoniae” By AJC1 (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
2. “Pap smear showing clamydia in the vacuoles 500x H&E” By http://visualsonline.cancer.gov/details.cfm?imageid=2331 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia