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a genus of bacteria, related to actinomycetes; it differs from true bacteria in a number of ways. The young vegetative cells are rodlike (0.5–0.8 × 2.2 microns); they are capable of branching and acquiring V or Y shapes. In old cultures spherical cells predominate. Mycobacteria, which do not form endospores, are nonmotile, gram-positive, and strictly aerobic. They reproduce mainly by dividing and budding. Mycobacteria contain carotenoids, and, as a result, their colonies are often pigmented (yellow, orange, or red). Owing to their cell composition (including lipides and wax), some myco-bacteria, in contrast to other bacteria, are acid-fast.

Mycobacteria are widely distributed in soils and are active in the mineralization of plant remains. Some species of Mycobacterium are nitrogen-fixing microorganisms; others are capable of metabolizing the carbohydrates of petroleum and natural gas and, when cultured, accumulate protein, which is used for fodder and other purposes. Some species of Mycobacterium are pathogenic to humans (for example, mycobacteria are the causative agents of tuberculosis and leprosy).


References in periodicals archive ?
Mycobacterium leprae typing by genomic diversity and global distribution of genotypes.
Scientifically, leprosy is known as Hansen's disease, after Armauer Hansen who in 1873 discovered the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae, which causes the disease.
Because of the long incubation period (3 months to 40 years, with an average incubation period of 2 to 4 years), infection with Mycobacterium leprae may not be evident at the time of enlistment.
Mycobacterium leprae is the bacteria that causes leprosy.
Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae.
Leprosy, an ailment most people associate with biblical times, is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae.
Dr Wasim Khawaja from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said leprosy is caused by a slow-growing bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae.
CLA researchers specifically studied how dendritic cells, immune cells located at the site of infection, become more specialized to fight the leprosy pathogen known as Mycobacterium leprae.
Predominant recognition of species-specific determinants of the GroES homologues from Mycobacterium leprae and M.
Enumeration of Mycobacterium leprae using real-time PCR.

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