Mycoplasma haemofelis is a mycoplasmal pathogen (hemoplasma) that attaches to the host’s erythrocytes. Distributed worldwide, it has a significant impact on the health of cats causing acute disease and, despite treatment, establishing chronic infection. It might also have a role as a zoonotic agent, especially in immunocompromised patients. Whole genome sequencing and analyses of M. haemofelis strain Ohio2 was undertaken as a step toward understanding its survival and persistence. Metabolic pathways are reduced, relying on the host to supply many of the nutrients and metabolites needed for survival. M. haemofelis must import glucose for ATP generation and ribose derivates for RNA/DNA synthesis. Hypoxanthine, adenine, guanine, uracil and CMP are scavenged from the environment to support purine and pyrimidine synthesis. In addition, nicotinamide, amino acids and any vitamins needed for growth, must be acquired from its environment. The core proteome of M. haemofelis contains an abundance of paralogous gene families, corresponding to 70.6% of all the CDSs. This “paralog pool” is a rich source of different antigenic epitopes that can be varied to elude the host’s immune system and establish chronic infection. M. haemofelis also appears to be capable of phase variation, which is particularly relevant to the cyclic bacteremia and persistence, characteristics of the infection in the cat. The data generated herein should be of great use for understanding the mechanisms of M. haemofelis infection. Further, it will provide new insights into its pathogenicity and clues needed to formulate media to support the in vitro cultivation of M. haemofelis.

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