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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2009 Mar;55(2):120-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2008.00526.x.

Typing Chlamydia trachomatis: from egg yolk to nanotechnology.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark.


A historical review is provided of the various methods used for half a century to differentiate and type Chlamydia trachomatis strains. Typing of C. trachomatis is an important tool for revealing transmission patterns in sexual networks, and enabling association with clinical manifestations and pathogenicity. Serotyping using the major outer membrane protein (MOMP) has been the mainstay of epidemiological work for several decades. However, the development of nucleic acid amplification techniques (NAAT) and easy access to sequencing have shifted the focus from MOMP serotypes to omp1 genotypes. However, insufficient epidemiological resolution is achieved by characterization of both MOMP and omp1. This calls for new high-resolution genotyping methods applying for example a multilocus variable number tandem repeat assay (MLVA) or multilocus sequence typing (MLST). The futuristic nanotechnology already seems at hand to further simplify and automate the high-resolution genotyping method based on NAAT and sequencing of various targets in the C. trachomatis genome. Thereby, a high throughput can be achieved and more epidemiological information can be obtained. However, it is important to realize that culture of C. trachomatis may still be needed to detect and characterize new variants of C. trachomatis.

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