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Infection biology of Chlamydia pneumoniae

by Bailey, Leslie

Abstract (Summary)
There are two main human pathogens in the family of Chlamydiaceae. Different serovars of Chlamydia trachomatis cause sexually-transmitted disease and eye infections whereas C. pneumoniae (TWAR) is a common cause of community-acquired respiratory infection. Chlamydia species are obligate, intracellular bacteria sharing a unique developmental cycle that occurs within a protected vacuole termed an inclusion. These microorganisms can be distinguished by two different forms: the infectious, metabolically inert elementary body (EB) and the reproducing non-infectious form, termed the reticulate body (RB). The cycle is terminated when re-differentiation of RBs back to infectious EBs occurs. Chlamydia possesses a type III secretion system (T3SS) essential for delivery of effector proteins into the host for host-cell interactions. This virulence system has been systematically characterized in several mammalian pathogens. Due to lack of a tractable genetic system for Chlamydia species, we have employed chemical genetics as a strategy to investigate molecular aspects of the T3SS. We have identified that the T3S-inhibitors INP0010 and INP0400 block the developmental cycle and interfere with secretion of T3S effector proteins in C. pneumoniae and C. trachomatis, without any cytotoxic effect. We have further shown that INP0010 decreases initiation of transcription in C. pneumoniae during the early mid-developmental cycle as demonstrated by a novel calculation, useful for measurement of transcription initiation in any intracellular pathogen. The mechanism regulating the signal(s) for primary as well as terminal differentiation of RBs has not been defined in Chlamydia. We show using T3S-inhibitors that INP0010 targets the T3SS and thereby arrests RB proliferation as well as RB to EB re-differentiation of C. pneumoniae as where INP0400 targets the T3SS and provokes a bacterial dissociation from the inclusion membrane presumed to mimic the natural occurrence of terminal differentiation. The effect of INP0010 on iron-responsive genes indicates a role for T3S in iron acquisition. Accordingly, our results suggest the possibility that C. pneumoniae acquires iron via the intracellular trafficking pathway of endocytosed transferrin. Moreover, we have for the first time presented data showing generalized bone loss from C. pneumoniae infection in mice. The infection was associated with increased levels of the bone resorptive cytokines IL-6 and IL-1beta. In addition, an increased sub-population of T-cells expressed RANKL during infection. Additionally, C. pneumoniae established an infection in a human osteoblast cell line in vitro with a similar cytokine profile as seen in vivo, supporting a causal linkage. Collectively, these data may indicate a previously unknown pathological role of C. pneumoniae in generalized bone loss.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:VETERINARY MEDICINE; Medicine; Chlamydia pneumoniae; Type three secretion system; Bone

ISBN:978-91-7264-532-5

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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