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Microbes Infect. 2006 May;8(6):1579-91. Epub 2006 Apr 18.

Ultrastructural analysis of chlamydial antigen-containing vesicles everting from the Chlamydia trachomatis inclusion.

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Department of Microbiology, Box 70579, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614-0579, USA.


Several chlamydial antigens have been detected in the infected epithelial cell cytosol and on the host cell surface prior to their presumed natural release at the end of the 72-96 h developmental cycle. These extra-inclusion antigens are proposed to influence vital host cell functions, antigen trafficking and presentation and, ultimately, contribute to a prolonged inflammatory response. To begin to dissect the mechanisms for escape of these antigens from the chlamydial inclusion, which are enhanced on exposure to antibiotics, polarized endometrial epithelial cells (HEC-1B) were infected with Chlamydia trachomatis serovar E for 36 h or 48 h. Infected cells were then exposed to chemotactic human polymorphonuclear neutrophils not loaded or pre-loaded in vitro with the antibiotic azithromycin. Viewed by electron microscopy, the azithromycin-mediated killing of chlamydiae involved an increase in chlamydial outer membrane blebbing followed by the appearance of the blebs in larger vesicles (i) everting from but still associated with the inclusion as well as (ii) external to the inclusion. Evidence that the vesicles originated from the chlamydial inclusion membrane was shown by immuno-localization of inclusion membrane proteins A, F, and G on the vesicular membranes. Chlamydial heat shock protein 60 (chsp60) copies 2 and 3, but not copy 1, were released from RB and incorporated into the everted inclusion membrane vesicles and delivered to the infected cell surface. These data represent direct evidence for one mechanism of early antigen delivery, albeit membrane-bound, beyond the confines of the chlamydial inclusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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