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Cell Microbiol. 2012 May;14(5):656-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2012.01747.x. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

Chlamydia trachomatis hijacks intra-Golgi COG complex-dependent vesicle trafficking pathway.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, UAMS, Arkansas Childrens Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, AR, USA.


Chlamydia spp. are obligate intracellular bacteria that replicate inside the host cell in a bacterial modified unique compartment called the inclusion. As other intracellular pathogens, chlamydiae exploit host membrane trafficking pathways to prevent lysosomal fusion and to acquire energy and nutrients essential for their survival and replication. The Conserved Oligomeric Golgi (COG) complex is a ubiquitously expressed membrane-associated protein complex that functions in a retrograde intra-Golgi trafficking through associations with coiled-coil tethers, SNAREs, Rabs and COPI proteins. Several COG complex-interacting proteins, including Rab1, Rab6, Rab14 and Syntaxin 6 are implicated in chlamydial development. In this study, we analysed the recruitment of the COG complex and GS15-positive COG complex-dependent vesicles to Chlamydia trachomatis inclusion and their participation in chlamydial growth. Immunofluorescent analysis revealed that both GFP-tagged and endogenous COG complex subunits associated with inclusions in a serovar-independent manner by 8 h post infection and were maintained throughout the entire developmental cycle. Golgi v-SNARE GS15 was associated with inclusions 24 h post infection, but was absent on the mid-cycle (8 h) inclusions, indicating that this Golgi SNARE is directed to inclusions after COG complex recruitment. Silencing of COG8 and GS15 by siRNA significantly decreased infectious yield of chlamydiae. Further, membranous structures likely derived from lysed bacteria were observed inside inclusions by electron microscopy in cells depleted of COG8 or GS15. Our results showed that C. trachomatis hijacks the COG complex to redirect the population of Golgi-derived retrograde vesicles to inclusions. These vesicles likely deliver nutrients that are required for bacterial development and replication.

© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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