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Mol Cell Biochem. 2005 Jan;269(1-2):69-84.

Chlamydia pneumoniae infected macrophages exhibit enhanced plasma membrane fluidity and show increased adherence to endothelial cells.

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Department of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA.


Chlamydia pneumoniae, an intracellular prokaryote, is known to have requirement for some lipids which it is incapable of synthesizing, and these lipids have important fluidizing roles in plasma membrane. We decided to examine if the trafficking of these lipids to C. pneumoniae alters the physicochemical properties of macrophage plasma membrane, affects the expression of genes and proteins of enzymes associated with metabolism of some of these lipids and assess if Ca2+ signaling usually induced in macrophages infected with C. pneumoniae modulates the genes of these selected enzymes. Chlamydia pneumoniae induced the depletion of macrophage membrane cholesterol, phosphatidylinositol and cardiolipin but caused an increase in phosphotidylcholine resulting in a relative increase in total phospholipids. There was increased membrane fluidity, enhanced macrophage fragility and heightened adherence of macrophages to endothelial cells despite the application of inhibitor of adhesion molecules. Also, there was impairment of macrophage 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase gene and protein expression independent of Ca2+ signaling, while phospholipase C gene and protein were up-regulated in a manner minimally dependent on Ca2+ signaling. The implications of these findings are that macrophages infected with C. pneumoniae have altered membrane physicochemical characteristics which may render them atherogenic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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