Indexed on: 15 Aug '02Published on: 15 Aug '02Published in: Microbiology (Reading, England)
The obligately intracellular chlamydiae are bacterial pathogens that occupy intracellular vacuoles, termed inclusions, as they develop and multiply. Typical Chlamydia trachomatis isolates occupy inclusions that fuse with other C. trachomatis inclusions within cells infected with multiple elementary bodies (wild-type phenotype). The authors of this study have recently described C. trachomatis isolates that form multiply-lobed, non-fusogenic inclusions within single cells infected with multiple elementary bodies (variant phenotype). Inclusions formed by these isolates uniformly lacked the protein IncA on the inclusion membrane (IM). In the present work, the study of the C. trachomatis inclusion phenotype has been expanded to include 27 variant and 13 wild-type isolates. Twenty-four of the 27 variant isolates were IncA-negative, as detected by fluorescence microscopy and immunoblotting, but three variants localized IncA to the IM. The IncA-positive variants formed inclusions that fused, at a reduced rate, with those occupied by wild-type isolates and with inclusions formed by other IncA-positive variants. Nucleotide-sequence analysis of the incA sequences from the variant isolates identified a variety of distinct sequence polymorphisms relative to incA from wild-type strains. The authors also demonstrate that a second Inc protein, CT223p, is not found in the IM in selected C. trachomatis isolates. No change in the structure or the fusogenicity of the inclusions was associated with the presence or absence of CT223p.