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Microb Pathog. 2008 Apr;44(4):279-85. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

Apolipoprotein E4 enhances attachment of Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae elementary bodies to host cells.

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Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Gordon H. Scott Hall, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae is an intracellular respiratory pathogen known to cause community-acquired pneumonia. Infection with this organism has been associated with atherosclerosis, inflammatory arthritis, and other chronic diseases, many of which also have been associated with possession of the epsilon4 allele at the APOE locus on (human) chromosome 19. An earlier study from this laboratory suggested that some relationship exists between apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4), the product of the epsilon4 allele, and the pathobiology of C. pneumoniae. A standard attachment assay and real time PCR targeting a sequence on the C. pneumoniae chromosome were used to monitor host cell binding of elementary bodies (EB) of that organism. Our data indicate that 3-fold more EB of strain AR-39 attach to an epsilon3 homozygous human cell line transfected with a plasmid expressing the epsilon4 coding sequence than to the same cell line harboring empty vector, vector containing an irrelevant insert sequence, or vector containing the DNA sequence encoding apoE3. The quantitative real time data were confirmed by immunolabeling of chlamydial inclusions in parallel attachment and infection assays. Experiments using Chlamydophila trachomatis EB showed no enhancement of attachment in the presence of the epsilon4 allele in any assays. These observations indicate that apoE4 enhances attachment of C. pneumoniae EB, but not those of C. trachomatis, to target host cells.

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