Logo of iaiPermissionsJournals.ASM.orgJournalIAI ArticleJournal InfoAuthorsReviewers
Infect Immun. 1995 Jan; 63(1): 199–205.
PMCID: PMC172978

Reactivation of persistent Chlamydia trachomatis infection in cell culture.


Gamma interferon induces persistent chlamydial infections in cell culture. These infections are characterized by altered morphologic and biochemical features of the pathogen. These persistent forms are abnormally large and noninfectious and undergo unusual structural and functional changes, including production of a paucity of outer envelope constituents and normal levels of the chlamydial hsp60, an immunopathological antigen. The current investigation evaluates the events that occur during reactivation of infectious Chlamydia trachomatis from persistently infected cell cultures. Transfer of persistent chlamydial organisms to gamma interferon-free medium resulted in recovery of infectivity accompanied by an increase in levels of structural membrane proteins and reorganization of aberrant organisms to morphologically typical elementary bodies. In addition, reactivation of infectious organisms from persistent chlamydiae that were maintained in culture for several weeks was demonstrated. These studies show that persistent C. trachomatis maintains viability for extended periods, illustrate the reversibility of immunologically mediated persistent infections, and characterize reactivation at the ultrastructural and biochemical levels.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (688K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Allan I, Pearce JH. Amino acid requirements of strains of Chlamydia trachomatis and C. psittaci growing in McCoy cells: relationship with clinical syndrome and host origin. J Gen Microbiol. 1983 Jul;129(7):2001–2007. [PubMed]
  • Baehr W, Zhang YX, Joseph T, Su H, Nano FE, Everett KD, Caldwell HD. Mapping antigenic domains expressed by Chlamydia trachomatis major outer membrane protein genes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Jun;85(11):4000–4004. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Barry CE, 3rd, Hayes SF, Hackstadt T. Nucleoid condensation in Escherichia coli that express a chlamydial histone homolog. Science. 1992 Apr 17;256(5055):377–379. [PubMed]
  • Bavoil P, Ohlin A, Schachter J. Role of disulfide bonding in outer membrane structure and permeability in Chlamydia trachomatis. Infect Immun. 1984 May;44(2):479–485. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Beatty WL, Belanger TA, Desai AA, Morrison RP, Byrne GI. Tryptophan depletion as a mechanism of gamma interferon-mediated chlamydial persistence. Infect Immun. 1994 Sep;62(9):3705–3711. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Beatty WL, Byrne GI, Morrison RP. Morphologic and antigenic characterization of interferon gamma-mediated persistent Chlamydia trachomatis infection in vitro. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 May 1;90(9):3998–4002. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Caldwell HD, Kromhout J, Schachter J. Purification and partial characterization of the major outer membrane protein of Chlamydia trachomatis. Infect Immun. 1981 Mar;31(3):1161–1176. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Campbell LA, Patton DL, Moore DE, Cappuccio AL, Mueller BA, Wang SP. Detection of Chlamydia trachomatis deoxyribonucleic acid in women with tubal infertility. Fertil Steril. 1993 Jan;59(1):45–50. [PubMed]
  • Cheema MA, Schumacher HR, Hudson AP. RNA-directed molecular hybridization screening: evidence for inapparent chlamydial infection. Am J Med Sci. 1991 Nov;302(5):261–268. [PubMed]
  • Coles AM, Reynolds DJ, Harper A, Devitt A, Pearce JH. Low-nutrient induction of abnormal chlamydial development: a novel component of chlamydial pathogenesis? FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1993 Jan 15;106(2):193–200. [PubMed]
  • de la Maza LM, Fielder TJ, Carlson EJ, Markoff BA, Peterson EM. Sequence diversity of the 60-kilodalton protein and of a putative 15-kilodalton protein between the trachoma and lymphogranuloma venereum biovars of Chlamydia trachomatis. Infect Immun. 1991 Mar;59(3):1196–1201. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dreyfuss G, Adam SA, Choi YD. Physical change in cytoplasmic messenger ribonucleoproteins in cells treated with inhibitors of mRNA transcription. Mol Cell Biol. 1984 Mar;4(3):415–423. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hanna L, Dawson CR, Briones O, Thygeson P, Jawetz E. Latency in human infections with TRIC agents. J Immunol. 1968 Jul;101(1):43–50. [PubMed]
  • Hatch TP, Allan I, Pearce JH. Structural and polypeptide differences between envelopes of infective and reproductive life cycle forms of Chlamydia spp. J Bacteriol. 1984 Jan;157(1):13–20. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Holland SM, Hudson AP, Bobo L, Whittum-Hudson JA, Viscidi RP, Quinn TC, Taylor HR. Demonstration of chlamydial RNA and DNA during a culture-negative state. Infect Immun. 1992 May;60(5):2040–2047. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hudson AP, McEntee CM, Reacher M, Whittum-Hudson JA, Taylor HR. Inapparent ocular infection by Chlamydia trachomatis in experimental and human trachoma. Curr Eye Res. 1992 Mar;11(3):279–283. [PubMed]
  • Kramer MJ, Gordon FB. Ultrastructural analysis of the effects of penicillin and chlortetracycline on the development of a genital tract Chlamydia. Infect Immun. 1971 Feb;3(2):333–341. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Laemmli UK. Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4. Nature. 1970 Aug 15;227(5259):680–685. [PubMed]
  • Matsumoto A, Manire GP. Electron microscopic observations on the effects of penicillin on the morphology of Chlamydia psittaci. J Bacteriol. 1970 Jan;101(1):278–285. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Morrison RP, Belland RJ, Lyng K, Caldwell HD. Chlamydial disease pathogenesis. The 57-kD chlamydial hypersensitivity antigen is a stress response protein. J Exp Med. 1989 Oct 1;170(4):1271–1283. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Phillips DM, Swenson CE, Schachter J. Ultrastructure of Chlamydia trachomatis infection of the mouse oviduct. J Ultrastruct Res. 1984 Sep;88(3):244–256. [PubMed]
  • Sardinia LM, Segal E, Ganem D. Developmental regulation of the cysteine-rich outer-membrane proteins of murine Chlamydia trachomatis. J Gen Microbiol. 1988 Apr;134(4):997–1004. [PubMed]
  • Schachter J, Moncada J, Dawson CR, Sheppard J, Courtright P, Said ME, Zaki S, Hafez SF, Lorincz A. Nonculture methods for diagnosing chlamydial infection in patients with trachoma: a clue to the pathogenesis of the disease? J Infect Dis. 1988 Dec;158(6):1347–1352. [PubMed]
  • Soong YK, Kao SM, Lee CJ, Lee PS, Pao CC. Endocervical chlamydial deoxyribonucleic acid in infertile women. Fertil Steril. 1990 Nov;54(5):815–818. [PubMed]
  • Stephens RS, Wagar EA, Edman U. Developmental regulation of tandem promoters for the major outer membrane protein gene of Chlamydia trachomatis. J Bacteriol. 1988 Feb;170(2):744–750. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Su H, Watkins NG, Zhang YX, Caldwell HD. Chlamydia trachomatis-host cell interactions: role of the chlamydial major outer membrane protein as an adhesin. Infect Immun. 1990 Apr;58(4):1017–1025. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tanami Y, Yamada Y. Miniature cell formation in Chlamydia psittaci. J Bacteriol. 1973 Apr;114(1):408–412. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Thejls H, Gnarpe J, Lundkvist O, Heimer G, Larsson G, Victor A. Diagnosis and prevalence of persistent chlamydia infection in infertile women: tissue culture, direct antigen detection, and serology. Fertil Steril. 1991 Feb;55(2):304–310. [PubMed]
  • Ward M, Bailey R, Lesley A, Kajbaf M, Robertson J, Mabey D. Persisting inapparent chlamydial infection in a trachoma endemic community in The Gambia. Scand J Infect Dis Suppl. 1990;69:137–148. [PubMed]
  • Yuan Y, Lyng K, Zhang YX, Rockey DD, Morrison RP. Monoclonal antibodies define genus-specific, species-specific, and cross-reactive epitopes of the chlamydial 60-kilodalton heat shock protein (hsp60): specific immunodetection and purification of chlamydial hsp60. Infect Immun. 1992 Jun;60(6):2288–2296. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Zhang YX, Stewart S, Joseph T, Taylor HR, Caldwell HD. Protective monoclonal antibodies recognize epitopes located on the major outer membrane protein of Chlamydia trachomatis. J Immunol. 1987 Jan 15;138(2):575–581. [PubMed]
  • Zhang YX, Stewart SJ, Caldwell HD. Protective monoclonal antibodies to Chlamydia trachomatis serovar- and serogroup-specific major outer membrane protein determinants. Infect Immun. 1989 Feb;57(2):636–638. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Infection and Immunity are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)


Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...