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Infect Immun. 1980 Feb;27(2):468-74.

Properties of selected rickettsiae of the spotted fever group.


Eight strains of spotted fever group rickettsiae were studied to gain insight into the extent of variation of their properties. Two standard strains of Rickettsia rickettsii and one strain of Rickettsia conorii were included among the eight for comparison. The molar percentage of guanine plus cytosine for each strain did not differ significantly from that for R. rickettsii, 32.6 +/- 0.7%. Two strains caused extended fever in guinea pigs, one strain caused fever of short duration, and the other strains induced little or no fever. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the detergent-solubilized rickettsial proteins indicated that the protein content of all strains, except the two strains of R. rickettsii, were different, particularly in the molecular weight range of 40,000 to 60,000. Virulent strains produced large clear plaques in Vero cells monolayers; the strains of low virulence generally produced smaller or more turbid, or both, plaques. On the basis of agglutination reactions with rabbit antisera, the eight strains were placed into five serotypes. These results indicate considerable heterogeneity in properties of spotted fever group rickettsiae in the United States.

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